The Abridged Series/Dungeon Bypass: For the sake of storytelling, Gordon can "climb" over obstacles and skip some sections of the game. His guns also deal more damage.
Gordon's ability to "climb" obstacles is possibly lampshaded in one of the episodes as he comments on how he can do a pull-up, and mocks others for not having the same ability.
And later subverted in episode 24, where he attempts to do this and fails due to a sloped edge. In fact, the whole Power Up arc is something of a subversion, since he spends more time wandering around and backtracking than he needed to.
Gordon at one point nearly bypassed the rest of the game... only to realize that he was in the middle of the desert in a metal suit with no supplies. He promptly returned to the dungeon.
In Episode 46, Freeman decides to simply climb on top of a building after seeing the way to the ladder is lined with mines and guarded by a sniper. The game of course intends you to go that way. Then he later finds out it's even more dangerous than he thought, making him extra happy that he didn't go that way.
Freeman: So if I had made it past the landmines, I'd have to crawl through barbed wire so I could be electrocuted. Yeah, no thanks.
In episode 52, Gordon muses that once he gets out, he will meet an original architect of Black Mesa just to find out that he took the longest possible route to escape.
Accentuate the Negative: The first rant of episode 26 begins with Freeman acknowledging that he's doing this. He claims that to do otherwise would be absurd because he sees so little "positive."
Gordon: I mean what am I supposed to say to people? 'Wow, you sure did a great job falling down that elevator shaft'! Or, 'way to lock yourself in the freezer!' I'm so proud of you.
Although it should also be noted that he constantly refers to "when I get out of here" and "at my next job", which, after it's been established that both alien monsters and armed military forces are trying to kill you, is hilariously optimistic. Gordon's cynicism seems to wax and wane as Rule of Funny demands.
A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Averted; in episode 52 Gordon notes that robots will likely never take over the world since they're only programmed to perform highly specific tasks.
"We only wish they'd take over the world, so that we wouldn't have to. But then we're the ones who'd have to program them, so what the hell?"
The Alcoholic: Upon finding an elevator finally leading to the surface and presumably to his escape, Freeman muses: "I am gonna get so drunk tonight. I mean, way more than usual." And he comes into work having had two shots of vodka for breakfast.
And then in episode 52, Gordon begins to wonder if he's hallucinating alien worms as part of alcohol withdrawal.
Aliens Are Bastards: Gordon is quick to take this view, which isn't that unjustified, considering the circumstances. He even calls out the trope by name!
Humans Are Bastards: in episode 51, he declares that his "opinion of humanity is so low right now" due to the stupidity or maliciousness (or both) of everybody involved in the Black Mesa Incident.
All Up To You: Lampshaded frequently. Freeman constantly complains that he has to do everyone else's job.
Almighty Janitor: Freeman suspects that the janitors have the highest rate of survival out of all of the Black Mesa employees. They start out with a melee weapon, know the building inside and out, and have the keys to every door.
Aluminum Christmas Trees: In the first episode, Gordon recalls how a squirrel got caught in an electrical wire at M.I.T, and how it knocked out power to the whole campus once a transformer blew up. According to Ross Scott, this actually happened just at a different school and to one of his professors. In fact, squirrels killing themselves on power lines is common enough that it comes up in the news every now and then.
Angrish: Often, most notably the beginning of episode 39.
Another Dimension: Deconstructed by Freeman, who observes that that the aliens are quite clearly three-dimensional, and shows a great deal of annoyance at the misuse of the word.
Applied Phlebotinum: In episode 0, when Gordon notices that nothing is projecting the Hologram that's talking to him, he says it "must be nano-emitters or something".
April Fools' Day: Two episodes so far. Both of them feature a variant of the "Gordon head" title card, relevant to the episode's gimmick.
2009, Episode 10.5: Short non-canonical episode, at the end of which Gordon dies. Episode 11 begins at the same spot as this one, with Gordon having a strange feeling of deja vu, which he suspects comes from eating bad Doritos. The title card features X marks in Gordon's glasses.
2010, Episode 27: Gordon spends the entire video talking (or thinking) like a pirate. Title card features Gordon's pirate version, complete with an eyepatch and a scar on his cheek. Episode 28 starts with Gordon deciding that the pirate accent is too hard to keep up.
2013, DoomGuy's Mind Episode 7 set in Brutal Doom. Here he plays a psychotic, Blood Knight Space Marine as he happily slaughters his way through Phobos. Aside from a lot more profanity and praising the Marines rather than theoretical physics, the character ends up pretty similar to Freeman...
2014 gives us a trailer for "Freeman Across the Universe", in which Freeman enters every first-person game ever made, often with hilarious results.
Freeman: (in Portal) I don't understand. There's no known physics model for this. Unless... Oh my god, I'm two-dimensional!
Armor Is Useless: Averted with Gordon's HEV suit; while high caliber rounds can pierce through it, 9mm and buckshot just bounce off, while rifle rounds only hurt a bit more than paintball. Somewhat played straight with the soldiers' body armor; Scott has adjusted the damage values in-game so that the marines now go down in three or so shots from the pistol or MP5 as opposed to the 7-10 shots it would take in the original game, reasoning that this makes the whole thing seem less video gamey. Though he did say in an interview that some of the soldiers Freeman shot are probably still alive thanks to their armor.
Gordon: (having just gunned down a squad of soldiers) Well, guess my armor is better than yours. Then I'll just loot your bodies, 'cause that's how I roll. (does so)...and that puts me at six or seven counts of... self-defense.
Ross Scott: Even if you're wearing armor, I don't care who you are; if someone blasts you point blank with a SPAS-12, you're going down. I mean you might still be alive, but...
Freeman thinks the same thing at one point, saying that a soldier that he shot multiple times with a pistol might still be alive.
Freeman: As long as he stays down, I don't really care. I don't need to confirm my kills. I'm not at that stage in my life yet.
Note that this is actually less realistic. They're wearing military issue body armor in the 2000s, so they should be very resistant to mere 9mm rounds and buckshot.
It could be that Freeman's MP5 is using specially produced armor piercing ammunition, is actually an◊ HK53note In Half-Life itself this probably isn't the case, since it shares ammo with the Glock, but this is strictly within the context of Freeman's Mind, which changes many things up about the original game as is. The original game already features a physically impossible MP5 variant, mostly because of the 50 round magazine that clearly represented as a 30 round one, and the ammo pick-ups are clearly magazines for a gun using rifle rounds, like the HK53. This was likely because it was originally supposed to be an assault rifle, but Valve changed their minds at the last minute, without bothering to change the world model for the ammo pick-ups, or Freeman just happens to hit their unarmored parts most of the time.
Then there's the Alien Grunts: as in the original game, their armor deflects any type of small arms fire that hits it. Freeman notices this, but is very confused as to why they seemingly wear armor everywhere but their torso, saying that their armor looks like something a stripper would wear.
Freeman: Are we being invaded by strippers? I thought this invasion was the normal conquering variety.
Episode 51 also has him commenting on the phenomenon of armor actually getting you killed faster due to the higher likelihood of taking risks while wearing it:
Freeman: (talking to a guard about the Alien Grunts) Those guys will smash our skulls like grapes if we don't take them down. Do you understand that? Your helmet's not going to help you, it's just giving you a false sense of security.
Red lights, walking backwards, GIVE ME SOME MORE PRESSURE, I DON'T HAVE ENOUGH! YES! BIOHAZARD! PERFECT! THANK YOU! AAAHH, FALLING TO MY DEATH! TANK OF ACID, SUPERB! [annoyed] Sidestepping...
Artificial Stupidity: Gordon is very quick to point out the soldiers' stupid tactics, including bombing the area where their soldiers (and no one else) are, killing each other with grenades, and running straight at him around a corner even though they just saw their friends getting shot running around the same corner. This is a very ironic meta joke, since Half-Life was praised for introducing tactically intelligent enemies when it first came out. They appear stupid in Freeman's Mind both as a result of bugs, scripting, and the age of the AI. A lot of the things that Gordon calls them stupid for, such as the friendly fire artillery barrage in Episode 13, a soldier being found dead, shot to death by his own turret gun in Episode 12, and the odd (to say the least) ambush in Episode 29 are actually scripted sequences... which doesn't really excuse them from an in-universe standpoint, but still.
A notable case is the two soldiers who ran into their own trip-mines in Episode 22.
Freeman: You know it's probably the military who put these trip-mines here to begin with, and they just go and run into them! I don't get it. They bomb each other, they can't figure out who the civilians are, and they can't duck. I mean look how easy this is (ducks under a trip-mine laser). Power slide! (slides under another laser).
Then the Marines hired The Three Stooges for episode 30 and started blowing each other up with grenades.
And there's that time Gordon was ambushed by two soldiers hiding in a box. He hypothesizes on some "cigar-smoking general" ordering the two into the box, complete with a voice akin to talking past a beard.
Another time, Freeman encounters a soldier in a hallway and, after shooting him about a dozen times, sarcastically compliments the soldier for his brilliant plan of attacking him in an empty hallway with no cover or room for hiding. Then he walks over and figures out that the door the hallway led to was actually open.
He thinks that natural selection is making them smarter, though. He's genuinely surprised when one soldier DOESN'T just blindly run around the corner and shoot him again, instead chucking a grenade.
In episode 47, he witnesses an IFV hitting one of its own soldiers with its cannon in an attempt to kill Freeman, who wasn't even near the blast.
Gordon: Man, I'm NEVER joining the military.
It gets even worse in Episode 58, when Gordon takes a teleporter trip over to "Uplink" (a.k.a. the Half-Life beta). The AI there is even more unpolished, leading to things like soldiers blowing themselves up with their own grenades. Gordon concludes that either the soldiers are covering up their own cover-up, or everyone's on drugs.
"Shoot anybody you want! It's cool: he's high, too! Get high before you die!"
A-Team Firing: Gordon tends to just fire his gun in the general area his enemy is in and only a small number of the bullets hits them. Justified since Gordon wouldn't have any advanced training in firearm handling, and codes are in place to make his shots a lot stronger anyway.
Awesome, but Impractical: Gordon declares the Gluon Gun to be this, deeming its ammo supply too small for the weight of the backpack he has to wear to use it. He discards it in favor of his more reliable weapons. He does love its awesomeness, though, to the point of declaring that it would probably be adopted by the military regardless of its flaws.
He's got a point: What's an impractical, backpack-mounted weapon for a man in power armor would be very practical to mount to a vehicle.
Ax-Crazy: Gordon, in later episodes. For example, in episode 15, he comments on how fun it was to shoot aliens, and in episode 24, he thinks about decapitating an injured security guard and using his intestines as rope, but decides against it because it would be too slippery (and gross). As of episode 39, he's killed a Black Mesa security guard in cold blood, believing that the guard was out to get him.
Freeman: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, everyone dies!
Badass Bookworm: Gordon makes no bones about his education; he's a graduate of MIT, and among other things he tells a bunch of enemy soldiers that his diploma is more valuable then they are. He simultaneously mocks his fellow scientists for not being as fit as him.
Gordon: I'm a physics-crunching badass. I'm the complete package.
Badass Grandpa: The scientist who jumps through a window in Episode 10 and keeps a shotgun in his desk, Freeman even remarks on his badassery. Somewhat ruined since the scientist is killed by zombies moments later. Freeman also hopes he becomes one, opting to buy a cane sword when he's older.
Badass on Paper: Despite the above, he's still a delusional and neurotic Cloud Cuckoolander who has survived more than one encounter via pure luck. It doesn't stop fellow Black Mesa personnel from seeing him as a living legend, and believing him to be the only one that can stop the alien invasion. Freeman lampshades his improbable luck repeatedly.
Gordon: [while fighting ninjas] I chase electron orbits, you think I can't find you?!
Berserk Button: He hates cockroaches. And locked doors. And dead ends. And Vortigaunts or soldiers interrupting his train of thought.
"Okay children, Class is in session! Everyone take your seats! I said everyone take your seats! Dammit Billy, that means you too! Take your seats!"
Better than a Bare Bulb: Gordon spends the series constantly pointing out all the inherent Fridge Logic in the game's premise, such as the sheer impracticality of the government coverup and even the various bits of Technobabble heard throughout the game.
Big Electric Switch: One of the few design elements in Black Mesa of which Gordon wholeheartedly approves.
Big "OMG!" During episode 37, he gets one of these as he is dropped from a conveyor belt 10 meters up into a pool of water. To make matters worse, he's still recovering from being knocked out, and as such, is drowsy
Gordon: OH MY GOD I'M GONNA DROWN!!
Big "WHAT?!": Episode 4 gave us this brief "exchange" between Gordon and the security system:
Born Lucky: Gordon comments on his seemingly improbable luck several times.
When he somehow blows up a Bradley with an MP5.
Freeman: You can't buy luck like that. You just have to be me.
After just avoiding getting his brain splattered by a sniper.
After shooting down an attack helicopter with an MP5. Even he's surprised by that one.
Finding a rocket launcher right before another attack helicopter shows up. This is what gets him to revise his stance that the universe wants to kill him, because if that were true, it would've just let the chopper shred him rather than giving him the means to destroy it.
Freeman: (hiding for his life from a giant alien walking tank) Dammit, this happens every time I get cocky! Someone like this comes along and I wish I hadn't said a lot of things that I did.
Brick Joke/Call Back: In episode 4, Gordon recalls a time when he stayed awake for four days and thought his house was being invaded by frog people. In episode 28, during a rant on how he is Properly Paranoid, he lists one of the reasons as being "There's no race of anthropomorphic frog people in the sewers Freeman! You're just being paranoid!"
When Gordon gets his hazard suit, he mutes the suit's computer as it narrates activating all the various systems. In the first April Fool's episode, when Gordon falls to his death, the impact unmutes the suit computer.
In the very first episode, Gordon recalls how once a squirrel died in the electric transformer of his college. Fast forward to episode 46, and Freeman has to deal with falling debris falling from above, which could potentially trigger some mines. He wonders if there is a squirrel up there... and immediately adds that "it could be payback"!
Somewhere when first meeting an actual alien, he shouts it probably came from a swamp, or if it didn't, it deserved to be. A good dozen episodes later he fights aliens in a freezer and notes they couldn't come from a swamp planet, because they wouldn't be able to survive in such conditions.
At one point in episode 40 Gordon shoots at one soldier and shouts: "TAG, YOU'RE IT!" and once he kills another nearby soldier: "No tagbacks." Later the next episode he gets shot at and he blares: "I SAID NO TAGBACKS!"
Near the end of On A Rail, he says that everyone who is wearing a military uniform is now a free target. At the beginning of Apprehension, he sees a soldier off in the distance and yells "Ah! Uniform! Uni-" before being interrupted by gunfire.
In Episode 7, he reveals that he hates bad puns. Six years later in real world time, in Episode 49, while crawling through a pipe, a soldier attempts to kill Freeman by throwing a satchel in the pipe Freeman is crawling through. After escaping the blast, Freeman comments that his only consolation is that at least the soldier didn't make a bad pun about it.
At the start of Episode 50, Freeman makes a short statement about why it's safe in the pipe he was stuck in. At the end of the episode when the ceiling collapses and almost hits him he laments "See this is why I like the pipe."
In episode 49, he accidentally shoots a guard who spooked him, after he had warned the guard not to take him by surprise like that. Freeman guiltily tries to justify it to himself before saying "It doesn't even matter now, I'm a fugitive anyway. What do I care? I launched a missile!".
In Episode 29 Gordon gets ambushed by two soldiers who were hiding in a box. In Episode 33 he gets stuck in a box and attacked by Vortigaunts, and realizes the aliens have taken a leaf from the military's book.
In Episode 8, Gordon thinks the building may be falling apart due to the aliens teleporting into the walls and worries about the possibility of one teleporting inside of him. In Episode 33, he brings up his concern of one teleporting inside of him again and then in Episode 55 he mentions he still believes the aliens are teleporting inside the walls and again worries about them teleporting inside of him, specifically when one almost does, just landing next to him.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Despite his ramblings, Gordon's inner monologue does show that he knows a lot about science.
Random Scientist: Do you know who ate all the donuts? Gordon: NO! Do you know if leptons are really compound particles?! Friggin' donuts...
Early on, he mentions seeing one of the (many) white-haired geezer physicists writing down the equation for gravitational force, mentioning how it's something you'd see in Physics 1 classes. Truth of the matter? It really is. Most physics teachers (college-level, at least) also have (much) longer equations completely memorized so having to write down such a short, basic equation at all is just plain sad for a PhD-grade physicist.
Captain Obvious: "You know, I'm starting to think this isn't a rescue operation..."
Gordon: [Seeing the Anti-Mass spectrometer malfunction and blow up the room]: No no, this is not good.
Casanova Wannabe: By his own admission (though without any air of self awareness), a lot of dates he goes on end with him getting tasered. He also makes reference to repeatedly hitting on a girl named Heather and failing, and theorizes he probably ended up in a trash compactor since she threw him in there.
Casual Danger Dialogue: Freeman does this a lot in later episodes. Somewhat justified when his enemies pose no real threat to him, like when he's beating Houndeyes to death with a crowbar. Less justified when he's being pinned down by a .50 BMGmachine gun. Or when an IFV is shooting at him with rockets.
Freeman: (rocket streaks past him) Yeah yeah, I think I'm under investigation. On the plus side, this guy is shooting rockets at me, so if I die, I'll see it coming (runs from behind cover to the other side of the road) that's cool right? (another rocket hits a bunch of cover near him) I'm trying to find the silver lining here. There's not much.
The Chew Toy: Gordon. Half the fun of the series is seeing how freaked out he will get the next time he sees a giant alien or another new obstacle courtesy of the HECU. He compares himself to Rasputin in the sense that he's been shot, burned, almost drowned, bit, lacerated, electrocuted, etc...
Clothes Make the Superman: Freeman's HEV suit, of course. More so than in 'canon' Half-Life, but not to the point where it trivializes Freeman's accomplishments. Freeman says that he would have stolen it a long time ago if he knew how useful it was.
"This self-defense crap isn't cutting it because I never get to fire first!"
"Look at all these dead scientists! This rescue mission's a disaster."
"Those shots came dangerously close to my head. You guys could've killed me you know that?"
Just to make things worse, several of these lines were said by Gordon after someone explained to him that the military were purposely trying to kill him.
In episode 50, a guard following Freeman says "Sorry sir, but I can't much more of this". Freeman chastises him for being lazy, as they'd only been walking for two minutes.. and completely ignores that the guard just took a blast from the Vortigaunt that would ordinarily be lethal.
In episode 51, he notices that a guard stopped following him and remarks that he probably wandered off and screwed around. Earlier in the video, the guard can actually be seen dying to Bee Bee Gun fire. Freeman must not have been focusing on that.
Computer Equals Tape Drive: "Whoa, whoa, what's this? Are you kidding me? Are we using tape reel computers? Noooo! Wait ... are those slots for punched cards?"
"What do you think I'm doing?! Hey, I could just sit here and not do a damn thing. Bet you'd like that, huh? Ungrateful pricks."
Contractual Immortality: Double-subverted with the April Fools episode 10.5, which ends with Gordon taking a flying leap at a ladder, only to fall down into a chasm and die. The episode fades out as the HEV suit voices phrases such as "Emergency! User death imminent!" The next episode picks up where the previous one began as though it never happened. Gordon remarks on a feeling of deja vu and assumes he has eaten some "bad nachos".
Copy And Paste Environments: The staircase that looks exactly like the one Gordon got shot by a turret gun in makes him freak out for a moment.
Gordon: I wonder if the CEO just rubs himself with money...
Episode 34 has him concluding that the company is, in fact, run by a Bond villain.
Gordon: We've got missiles, tons of weapons, lasers, a shark tank, and now ninjas.
Crazy-Prepared: After realizing his bank accounts are probably frozen, Gordon mentions getting back to Massachusetts to find the 10,000 dollars in gold he has buried in Harold Park State Forest.
The Cuckoolander Was Right: In the first episode, as Gordon gets off the train, he looks back down the tracks asking "Is someone following me?" While this, at first, comes across just as him being paranoid, if one considers the actual events of Half-Life, the G-Man is following Gordon. Throughout all of the events that have happened to him so far.
When he finds the rocket launcher, he comes to the conclusion that he's a pawn in a game between cosmic forces - half that want him dead and half that want him to succeed. This is exactly what's revealed to be happening later in the series.
Deadpan Snarker: Gordon of course, the quote at the top of the page should say it all.
Firing a gun inside an air vent is a dumb idea, and can permanently deafen you.
The Artificial Stupidity is actually the result of the soldiers hating each other, and using the presence of Gordon as an excuse to off one another, so they can label it as friendly fire.
AIs will never turn against us, because they are too narrow-minded and lack emotion. The ideas/tropes of AIsturning against their masters and ruling the world is actually a wishful dream of humans who want the robots to do it, so that humans don't have to. The case is redundant anyway as programming an AI to rule the world would take just as much work as doing it yourself.
Didn't Think This Through: Episode 8 has Gordon shoot a headcrab while in a vent, causing an ear-piercing ringing to echo throughout the vent and temporarily makes Gordon deaf. He notes how the idea of shooting inside a vent wasn't exactly a bright idea.
Doom Magnet: Freeman's companions tend to die, though some are lucky enough to "only" get injured or stranded.
Door To Before: Gordon encounters many of these during his trek through the facility and usually rants angrily on how useless they are for making him go in huge circles.
Driven to Madness: It's supposed to be funny, but in the beginning of episode 17, an exhausted Gordon becomes frustrated with the monsters for not answering his questions. Later in the episode, in an unconnected rant, he questions whether he's already insane and imagining it all, then goes on about the unimaginable psychological torment he's going to endure later in life. It's actually one of the series' smartest rants, and one of few that could actually be taken rather seriously.
Gordon: (Shooting at a group of soldiers) I AM ON YOUR SIDE GOD DAMMIT, HOW MANY MORE OF YOU DO I HAVE TO KILL BEFORE YOU REALIZE THAT!?!?
In episode 24, he thinks about decapitating an injured security guard and using his intestines as rope, but later decides against it simply because he figured the intestines would be too slippery.
Episode 18 has him concluding that he must have encountered a pixie. He's frighteningly serious. It's safe to assume he's snapped at this point. Although, when you consider what has happened that day, the existence of pixies wouldn't be completely out of the question.
Episode 25, he's hearing voices of the damned. note It's worth pointing out that the sounds he's hearing are actual cries of the damned. It's reused as the zombie Horde warning cry from Left 4 Dead, to be specific.
And in 26, he genuinely can't remember if gnomes exist (but again, considering what he has run into so far...)
And now in Episode 27, he's started talking (thinking?) like a pirate.
In episode 29 he starts howling like a wolf for no reason when he sees the full moon outside.
Gordon: *clears throat* AROOOOOOOOOOOOOOO- wait, what the hell am I doing?
In episode 39, he decides that everyone in the world is out to kill him, and thus he should kill everyone in the world. While he's said things like this before, he finally substantiates it by killing a friendly security guard without a second thought and shooting marines on sight. It may be all downhill from here.
Gordon: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, EVERYONE DIES!"
To be fair to Gordon, he does have amnesia at this point. He's forgotten that the security guards are friendly. Although he's definitely in a "shoot first, don't bother to ask questions" mode of thinking. Gordon also rightfully points out that the soldier he just shot would have needed to pass by said guard, who obviously wasn't harassed. Also, he doesn't (intentionally) shoot anyone who doesn't try to kill him first from that point on.
Alternatively, the guard may have followed the soldier down the corridor, and was waiting for the soldier to come back so he could ambush him (he was standing right around the corner). Freeman just messed up his plansbad.
Dull Surprise: Intentionally done for comedy when Freeman unknowingly launches the required satellites into orbit to end the Resonance Cascade, and mistakes it for an ICBM:
Freeman: Jesus Christ, I launched a missile... I'm not helping anything today.
Dumb Muscle: Gordon's opinion of the military clean-up battalion.
Easy Amnesia: Gordon has amnesia from Episode 34 onwards after a few punches to the face. He writes it off as the result of getting drunk the night before. He also states this isn't the first time he's woken up in a trash compactor with no memories of the previous night. His memories slowly start to come back to him over the course of several episodes as the result of things triggering his memories.
He also theorizes that the tentacle is a huge creature buried beneath black mesa, and that what he destroyed may have only its hair strands. Its pretty safe to say he reasonably thinks all the aliens are Eldritch Abominations.
Enemies List: Freeman puts a scientist on his list for annoying him during the experiment in the test chamber. One can only presume that the aliens and the "rescue team" are on it too if he hasn't completely forgotten about it.
Enemy Chatter: Gordon overhears some of it. A memorable example occurs in episode 30, where he lampshades the Mad Libs Dialogue nature of the soldiers' idle dialogue.
Gordon: Those last guys out there were making it preeeeety clear they didn't like me, which is a capital offense I guess. But these guys are just saying "Alpha Bravo Position Flanker Gamma Delta"-
Soldier: Squad: all hostiles neutralized.
Gordon: See, this is what I'm talking about.
Soldier: Check your zone, over, clik.
Gordon: (walks up to soldiers) Guys quiet I can't even hear myself think- wait what am I doing?
Entertainingly Wrong: Gordon misses out on several ammo caches and some weapons (including the most powerful gun in the game). However, each time he does, he has perfectly valid reasons not to do it. He didn't go down a passageway he thought (and later confirmed) had a bunch of soldiers in it while the way forward was a different direction, didn't pick up a crossbow that was covered in headcrabs, avoided the most powerful weapon in the game because it had just caused the deaths of its previous owners, and assumes the Hive Hand to be some sort of alien worm (which he then shoots).
Gordon: "Earth bees are more hardcore than space-bees."
External Retcon: In the original Half Life, the fact that Gordon didn't have access on any of the retinal scanners didn't make much sense in the Anomalous Materials lab, where he worked and should therefore have had access. In Freeman's Mind, we learn that the reason for this is because he got caught playing racquet ball in the anti-mass spectrometer room. Management doesn't want Gordon going anywhere in the facility without permission.
Fan Nickname: In-universe, although the "fan" part is up for debate. Gordon calls Headcrabs "Face-huggers", Vortigaunts "Zappers", and Bullsquids "Cthulhu dogs". Interestingly, he comes up with the "Face-hugger" name before he sees one actually jump on a scientist's head, just because it looks like one.
The soldier who nearly kills him with a rocket launcher in episode 28 is "Rocky the Rocket Ranger".
He also has appropriate names for hostiles whenever he's discussing chess. Vortigaunts are pawns, Alien Grunts are rooks, and soldiers are bishops.
It appears again later (earlier?) during Episode Zero (The Hazard Course) when he figures out the training program wants him to jump off a narrow platform, over a dozen feet off the ground, onto a hard concrete floor. On purpose.
And the spinoffs have spinoffs: Felix's Mind claims to be inspired by Barney's Mind.
The Fool: In his blind efforts to get out, Gordon manages to clear his own path simply by wandering around. Most obvious example is in episode 19 when, when he returns to the rocket testing station after activating the electricity and fuel needed to start the rocket and kill the worm monster.
Gordon: Hey, the lights are on! [Pushes button] Hey, it's doing something! Did somebody fix this? (Rocket begins to start up) What did I just do?
In episodes 5 and 36, he actually calls himself "The Freeman".
Of course, this might explain why the rebels call him 'The One Free Man' in Half-Life 2...
Episode 54 has Freeman proclaiming "This is bullshit! We need to nuke this whole place as soon as I'm out!" Which is exactly what happens at the end of Opposing Force.
Frickin' Laser Beams: Gordon has frequent encounters with laser beams. Sometimes they're straight-up deadly, other times they activate something else that's deadly, like trip-mines and sentry turrets. More recently he thought about redirecting an exceptionally powerful one and try to shoot down satellites.
Gang Up on the Human: "You know, it's a little disturbing how little I've seen aliens fight the soldiers and soldiers fight the aliens."
General Failure: Freeman theorizes whoever is in charge of the Black Mesa cleanup is this.
In Episode 44, he's very confused when he finds a squad of soldiers camped out on the side of a cliff, which has no strategic value and is very easy to fall off of. He gets even more confused when he sees a soldier ambush him by jumping out of cave. Later, he sees a soldier hiding in another cave who has been crushed by a rock, and concludes that hiding in caves was probably their orders.
In Episode 46, he draws attention to the very poor job that the soldiers are doing at killing him. He suggests that they should just use nerve gas on him since he isn't wearing the HEV's helmet.
Freeman: If I were a general, and one guy just kept killing everyone I sent to kill him, I think I'd try something else.[...] I don't have a helmet, they can't seem to figure that out.
In 44 he's somehow so crazy that he actually realized he's just a pawn in a cosmic struggle.
In Episode 28, he correctly deduces that there are probably some soldiers guarding the tram controls, and that it'd save him a lot of trouble to just ignore the tram and walk. He later confirms this when he sees two soldiers standing next to the controls on another floor, and sneaks by them.
When attacked by Black Ops, Gordon fends them off handily because he identifies them as ninjas and knows how they roll.
In Episode 58, he correctly anticipates the soldiers will be eliminated as part of the cover-up and Black Mesa will be destroyed, events which occur in Opposing Force.
The Ghost: Eddie plays this part. He is Gordon's go to guy for shady and illegal deals and is quite possibly his only "friend". He is mentioned by Mike to survive and still up to his old antics in Civil Protection assuming it's the same guy.
Hand Wave: Gordon usually doesn't take any real damage, because the creator is playing the game with godmode on, presumably. This is handwaved by the damage Freeman takes being written off as minor. Electricity hurts, but doesn't injure. Bullets bounce off the suit or miss altogether. Large caliber rounds or explosives can kill him right through his suit, but he dodges them. Headcrab bites are scratches. Bullsquid spit stinks but doesn't hurt.
Hard on Soft Science: Gordon has a dim view of Freudian psychology and relishes the prospect of disproving string theory.
Harsher in Hindsight: In-universe example. In Episode 32, Freeman theorizes that his boss may be trying to take over the world. In Half-Life 2, his boss actually does take over the world, and it's implied that Freeman's boss used the whole incident to do this.
Freeman: I need a helmet. To protect me from punctures, and facial lacerations... and bullets.
Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Freeman eventually begins to enjoy killing aliens and soldiers. He considers time spent killing the former to be community service hours.
Although he only really does it when he has to. He tries to negotiate with them at first (it doesn't work), and in episode 28 goes out of his way to avoid fighting a few soldiers.
From Ross Scott himself in an interview with PC Gamer:
Ross: In retrospect, I realized that the sheer number of people you have to kill in the Half-Life games suggests that some sort of paranoid psychopath might actually have a far better chance of survival than someone sensible.
"Oh, look at this. Aliens that can't shoot back! I'm gonna take my time here."
He Who Fights Monsters: Discussed in-universe. Gordon thinks that the line is "He who fights drummers" because "there's no way that [he's] going to end up looking like that◊".
Humans Are Warriors: Freeman hypothesizes that the reason for the aliens' bad tactics is because humans are just that much better at invasion than them.
Humble Goal: Freeman just wants to go home, and isn't all that interested in saving the world like the other scientists want him to. He couldn't care less about the alien invasion and government response if only they would all stop shooting/biting him.
Hypno Fool: Gordon gets nearly hypnotized by watching a gauge spin around, and then again when watching a piston move back and forth.
Hypocritical Humor: When Gordon encounters the soldier firing a rocket launcher, he rants about how stupid and dangerous it is to fire one inside an underground tunnel. Then after killing the soldier and approaching the rocket launcher, his first reaction is to try to use it himself.
In episode 48, he blows away a guard who spooked him by running through a Door To Before. In fairness to Gordon, this guard had done this once before, and Gordon specifically warned him not to do it again precisely for this reason.
In episode 60, Gordon is teleported out of a fight with a Gargantua and reflexively shoots a scientist in the face. He assumes the man's colleagues were trying to summon a demon and used him as practice.
Incompetence, Inc.: "Man, you can just smell the money burning in this place." Black Mesa appears to be this to Freeman. One of the signs implores employees, "Work Harder, Not Smarter."
Gordon: Yeah, that's us alright — we stay the course with stupid.
As per episode 40 it appears Black Mesa has been this for quite a long time, as Freeman implies that people have died regularly enough in experiments that the first thing that comes to mind when he sees a dead guy in a cage is.....
Gordon: Like, why is there a dead guy inside these cages? I don't know what department this is, but this isn't how we kept our lab. If someone turned up dead in one of our experiments, it got cleaned up immediately.
Though he changed his mind by episode 44 when finding out that Black Mesa is actually built inside a mesa.
Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: In Episode 44, Freeman misses the attack helicopter with his rocket launcher, giving it a chance to blaze away at him with its machine gun. It somehow manages to miss every shot, letting Freeman live long enough to get back to cover and reload.
Immune to Bullets: In contrast to Half-Life itself, where even the weakest attack will at least do Scratch Damage, Gordon's HEV suit makes it so that Gordon does not take any damage at all from low powered rounds, Vortigaunt blasts, Bullsquid poison, and a few other things. Rifle shots merely dent the suit and leave bruises and welts. However, stronger rounds (such as .50 BMG) can completely punch through it and kill Freeman instantly, which again is unlike the actual game, where even rocket launchers and tank shots can't kill Freeman in one hit, and can be shrugged off by simply picking up a couple medkits after.
Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: Gordon runs into several flavors of these every time he thinks he's found an exit out of Black Mesa, Lampshading the original game's Railroading. Gordon winds up giving his own rationalizations for why they're there in the first place. However, unlike in the original Half-Life, Gordon can actually do pull-ups over easy obstacles, which ends up saving him a lot of time.
Ross Scott:(in an interview with Podcast 17) Well I mean if you were in that situation what are you going to do? You see a bunch of things hanging down their tongues that can eat you, with a bunch of turret guns and mines lined up along the way, and you hear a bunch of soldiers chattering on their radios. Do you go that way, or do you just do a pull-up over a 7 foot wall?
Gordon is convinced that the Adamantium (Exit) Doors have one-way mirrors and bulletproof glass. And they're all locked.
Gordon encounters the Frictionless Hill during his brief stint on the surface ("The sandstone just breaks off!"). He finds a ridged pipe to climb, though that becomes a Hope Spot of its own.
Interservice Rivalry: Episode 46 has Gordon wondering if the air force is in on the army's conspiracy to kill him.
Intoxication Ensues: In episode 57 Gordon finally realises the first aid kits contain morphine. The main effect is that his train of thought slows down a little bit.
It Can Think: In episode 59, Gordon begins to wonder if the zombies are getting smarter when one of them uses a dead soldier as a puppet. He becomes dead certain of it when they later set up an ambush.
Justified Trope: Gordon himself provides the answers for Black Mesa's unstable structure when he realizes the monsters might be teleporting into the walls. He has some more when he realizes that the "Box Smashing Room" was probably built to pad out the facility's costs so they could get the same amount of grant money on the following year.
Lampshade Hanging: Gordon is quick to point out the ridiculous architectural design of Black Mesa, including the lack of structural integrity of every catwalk he tries to cross, the chutes-and-ladders elevator shaft, and the infamous "Box Smashing Room".
Gordon: So where do these things go that we need this many crates? ...That doesn't go anywhere! That's a wall! That means we're just loading up these crates so we can drop them into this pit! That means there's NO DAMN POINT TO THIS WHOLE ROOM!
Also, Episode 14: Gordon starts pointing out holes in the plot of the game, saying that a government-funded cover-up would not only be expensive, but pointless against randomly-teleporting aliens.
Episode 28 also hangs a lampshade on the limited models for NPC scientists, when Gordon finds out they know his name.
Gordon: Dammit, my beard betrayed me! They found my ID because I'm the only fucking scientist in here with a beard! If I went with that stupid Einstein hairdo they wouldn't have been able to pick me out from a lineup.
Lesser of Two Evils: In Episode 49, Freeman decides that the aliens are this, on part of the soldiers being a much bigger threat to him due to their weaponry, and having the capability to hunt him down after he escapes Black Mesa.
Ludicrous Gibs: Happens a few times, as this IS Half-Life. Freeman also references this trope a few times in hypotheticals, like when he says that getting hit by a particularly powerful blast of electricity would cause his "head to blow up like a baked potato wrapped in tin foil", or when he thinks that the Bradley that's pinning him down will "turn [him] into red paste" if he tries to leave cover.
Locked Out of the Loop: Gordon is completely unaware of the plot because he never listens to the NPCs. He's just trying to escape and completing objectives by accident along the way.
Made of Explodium: "Why does everything keep exploding?! Did we wire this place to self-destruct?"
Made of Indestructium: Gordon is not happy that the doors all have bullet-proof glass. He is happy that, in an inversion, the concrete barriers shatter like Styrofoam when the tram car rams into them, but he's very confused.
He's likewise confused why blowing an entire pile of crates full of explosives does nothing to the walls but leave scorch marks. "THOSE WEREN'T FIRECRACKERS!"
Made of Iron: The series abandons the standard convention of health bars and medkits, presumably in the name of realism, but in its stead simply has Gordon not take any persistent damage aside from the hole in his ear that he needs to bandage up. The creator says this is because, in this version of the Half-Life universe, the suit is impervious to low-caliber rounds. Gordon has repeatedly expressed his amazement at the durability of the suit.
As the series goes on, Gordon increasingly disregards small-arms fire and alien projectiles, while continuing to take high-caliber gunfire, explosives, and artillery seriously. As well as giant monsters (e.g. Gargantuas). And anything that comes near his head. At one point he comments that he hasn't been shot enough times to scrape the paint off his suit, which suggests that there's a kinetic threshold below which the thing is completely impenetrable.
Rifle rounds are able to dent the suit and leave welts and bruises on the wearer, implying that the soldiers could take him down with mere body shots if they packed assault rifles and shot him enough times. It's just that, in the original Half-Life, almost every soldier was packing a submachine gun.
Also, just as in the original Half-Life, Alien Grunts take a lot of punishment to bring down due to their thick skin and bulletproof armor, much to Gordon's annoyance.
Gordon: Why does it feel like I'm fighting a dump truck?
Made of Plasticine: In one episode, Freeman shoots down a helicopter with an MP5. He spends the beginning of the next episode pondering how that's even possible.
Major General Song: Gordon sings the entire song and adds another verse while killing an entire military squad in episode 45.
Major Injury Underreaction: Gordon is quite surprised by how cool one of the scientists in episode forty one is when he gets shot in the leg.
Gordon: No, stop, don't walk on it! Find some gauze to control the bleeding or something, jeez...
Manchild: It borders on Psychopathic Manchild in later episodes due to his mental breakdown, but Ross Scott once described Freeman in an interview as:
Ross: He has shifting paranoia, egomania, mild schizophrenia, over-aggressiveness, petty motivations, and immaturity in general.
Mêlée à Trois: Episode 49 has Freeman acknowledging that he's caught in one of these. He eventually concludes that, if anything, he'd want the aliens to win, since the soldiers are a much bigger threat to him, and if the aliens win all the charges against him will probably be dropped.
Freeman: (sees a Bullsquid eating a dead soldier) Okay, I see a dead soldier and an alien that doesn't see me. I can put one and one together. (shoots Bullsquid) Actually, that's one and negative one. (shoots the Bullsquid more, killing it) Now it's negative two and me. But wait, wouldn't I be number one? I don't know what the hell I'm talking about. See, this is why you have to define your terms: if you don't, people die.
Gordon thinks this of the advice given to him by a security guard, who was rather lax on the details when it came to escaping the facility.
At one point Gordon considers taking one of the Xen aliens to a taxidermist, thinking he would tell them that he doesn't know what it is and that he'll just say he got while out hunting. Then he realizes that what he's doing is sort of like hunting, and that he really doesn't know what the aliens are.
Mind Screw: The ladder in the elevator shaft in episode 11.
"Why do you have a ladder in an elevator shaft? To fix the elevator! How do you get to the ladder? You take the elevator that doesn't work! Who thought this one up?!?"
Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Freeman has this opinion of himself after he launches a missile at the end of the On A Rail arc. Amusingly, he's right, but for the wrong reasons.
Freeman: Jesus Christ I launched a missile... I'm not helping anything today. Well, guess I started World War III.
Militaries Are Useless: Freeman certainly thinks so, as he observes them spend most of their time trying to kill him, and killing unarmed civilians or eachother, rather than actually doing anything about the Alien Invasion. When he sees them actually fighting and beating aliens in Episode 49, he seems more genuinely awestruck than anything else... only to react casually and with a lack of surprise when he sees the soldiers getting their asses handed to them by Alien Grunts a few rooms later. Including one soldier being punched through a concrete wall.
Mook Chivalry: The soldiers usually either avert this or play it straight, due to the schizophrenic AI of Half-Life. On one hand, they politely run around corners after they just saw their partners get shot doing the same thing, but on the other, they do things like throw grenades and aim for the head.
Gordon: Yeah, that's right, moan! MOAN! That noise is exactly what I'll be thinking about when I try to get to sleep tonight! And I'll be dreaming about you sucking out my eyes with your tentacled face while I'm nestled up against a stack of rotting corpses; then my intestines will burst with insects crawling out of them; then the screaming — jeez, that's a long drop.
"Hey, that's a ladder! That means this is legit; this might actually go somewhere! I mean, it probably leads to a room filled with poison gas and a bunch of dead people that look just like me, but I don't know that, so there's room for hope, I guess."
"If any of these worms get in my hair, I swear to God I'm just gonna freak out. Yeah, worms get in my hair; the power fails and the lights go out; then some old guy with a raspy voice starts laughing and poking me with a stick. That would complete the experience."
"I was expecting to look down there and see this giant eyeball looking up at me, angry at me because I blew off its eyelashes or something, then the whole building starts shaking and I guess I'd just ball up and cry, because what do you do when something that big wants to kill you?"
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: In episode forty-one, Freeman has this opinion about a scientist who got shot in the leg by a soldier while helping Gordon escape the building:
Gordon: That's irony for you. He's the only person in this whole building who's been even remotely helpful, and now he's probably going to go get himself killed.
Noodle Incident: In episode 3, Gordon says that he should calm down to avoid a repeat of "Monday".
And after shooting a Barnacle and watching its innards (or lunch) spill onto the floor, he says "This is like a repeat of when I worked in fast food that summer."
And in episode 16, after turning on a fan that almost cuts his head off:
Gordon: I guess I don't have anyone to blame but myself. You go around pushing enough buttons and heavy machinery, and you end up in trouble. At least there were no witnesses this time. I mean, this is nothing compared to woodshop back in high school. I almost got expelled over that.
He states in episode 35 that he woke up in a trash compactor again. One can only imagine the other times it happened.
He also mentions an incident in Austria that he considers even worse than the current situation, where he woke up naked and had to make clothes out of garbage bags.
It's a character trait and not an event, but his fear of Muppets is presented with the same casual tone and lack of elaboration as these.
Then there's his "memory" of "last night" when he comes to in the trash compactor. Was it his dream, a false memory induced by the temporary memory loss, or something that really happened the night before the experiment?
Mentions something that happened in Panama to an acquaintance named Eddie in episode 48 which seemed to pay off big time. Whatever it was, it was probably illegal given Gordon's descriptions of Eddie.
No Theme Tune: But it does have a pretty recognizable "Bump bump chu... bump bump chi... bump bump" noise that plays at the beginning. That noise is the opening to "Military Precision" from the Half-Life soundtrack, and is copied into every Mind clone. The part right after that can be heard in the closing credits of Barney's Mind (see under Follow the Leader above).
Nothing Can Stop Us Now: Gordon finally finds the elevator to Surface Access by the end of Episode 12. It doesn't go well next episode...
Oh, Crap: In episode 23, Freeman camps out behind a corner and waits for the soldiers to run around, because he had killed several soldiers like that already, and is confident that they'll continue to do so. One of them instead chucks a grenade. After running in terror, he comments that he is watching natural selection in action.
Later, there's his reaction to Rocky the Rocket Ranger.
Freeman: (sees white smoke in the distance) What is that? (rocket streaks past his head) JESUS CHRIST! Next stop, right here! You can have the tram, FUCK!
In episode 56 he figures out that Black Mesa has a nuclear reactor that is about to go critical.
Ominous Owl: In Episode 28 when Freeman's mocking those who called him paranoid, he says "Owls can't read your mind, Freeman!"
Omniglot: Gordon apparently speaks five languages, English, Spanish, German, Hindi, and Haitian Creole. He says he's been to Haiti and India in the past, and he mentions Austria a few times (where German is spoken)—specifically Innsbruck, which matches with Freeman's canon background. No word yet on where he learned Spanish, though he does live in New Mexico. However, it's worth noting that his understanding of the other languages appears focused on how to get something for himself. Spanish for buying drugs; German for finding treasure; Hindi for his new life after he goes into hiding; and Creole to buy zombies.
One-Man Army: Freeman, as usual. Though Deconstructed to a degree: Freeman is very vocal about the outcome of his body count, probably predicting it will result in extreme mental breakdown and the U.S. Government hunting him down even if he manages to escape. Also, while Freeman's high intellect, physical strength, and resourcefulness help him survive, he's clearly acknowledged several times that without his suit he'd most likely be dead. His enemies'blunders also help.
In episode 31, he has come to the conclusion that, since he has no prior military or firearms training, doesn't belong to any extremist groups, and is just a theoretical physicist, it would be extremely difficult for the military to really believe he's killed dozens of their numbers single-handedly, and thus he may not end up being the fall guy.
In episode 51, he complains about being a literal one-man army, insisting that the phrase is only meant to sound badass and complaining about how it actually consists of one man having to do everything you'd expect a more competent army to accomplish with teamwork.
Freeman: You say that to sound badass, not because you literally want to function as an entire army!
One Steve Limit: Averted, Freeman mentions having a cousin Jesse as well as another Jesse who likes to zap himself with a cattle prod for fun.
Only Sane Man: Freeman sees himself this way. Surprisingly, there is a lot of truth in his statements, as per the nature of Half-Life, everyone is either completely retarded (he frequently lampshades the scientists' and marines' suicidal tendencies) or trying to kill him. Or both. At the beginning of episode 13, he even says "Everyone is crazy but me!" while reacting to the marines bombing the surface. This by no means makes him that sane himself, it's more "Everyone's more insane than me!"
Outrun the Fireball: Gordon sort of does this in Episode 49, after a soldier attempts to kill him by throwing a satchel charge in the pipe Freeman is crawling through. "Sort of" because he's close to the exit when its thrown in, is able to get to the exit before the soldier detonates it, and spends less than a second in the pipe after it goes off, quickly dropping out.
The Password Is Always Swordfish: When faced with a keypad lock, Gordon successfully tries "1234" as a combination. He laments that this can be attributed not to his genius, but someone else's stupidity.
Path of Most Resistance: Gordon lampshades that the right way generally seems to be where all the bodies and bloodstains are.
Gordon: Well, seeing as this is the most dangerous thing I've ever seen in my life, I must be going the right way.
Pet the Dog: Though mostly known for being a selfishJerkass, Freeman DOES on occasion try to save his fellow scientists. Most notably near the end of episode 59, when he starts lobbing grenades at a Gargantuan that's attacking some Black Mesa personelle and actually seems upset when he's unable to save them. Bear in mind that doing so wouldn't benefit him at all.
Ironically, this moment happens at what could easily be considered the height of Gordon's Ax Craziness
Reality Ensues: Gordon finally makes it to the surface, and is ready to up and leave the facility... until he remembers he's in the middle of the desert. Miles away from civilization. With no food and water. On foot. And the entire military trying to kill him. He promptly heads back underground.
Gordon hears a couple of scientists having an accident with some dangerous equipment. Entering the room, he finds a whole heap of gore, in the middle of which lies the gauss gun, one of the most powerful weapons in the game...which Gordon absolutely refuses to touch, as the last guys to mess with the thing were blown to smithereens.
"I doubt it's any safer with blood all over it."
Freeman also likes to deconstruct common pop culture concepts; among other things, he says that getting bitten by a radioactive spider would be more likely to kill you than give you super powers, and that Tinfoil Hats, if anything, would conduct a signal rather than block it.
Refuge in Audacity: Freeman thinks that there's no way that the military can convict him for the killing of dozens of marines simply because it wouldn't make sense.
Gordon: "No military training, never fired a gun, acquitted for petty theft, not a member of any extremist organizations, has a PhD in theoretical physics. Yeah, that sounds like our man."
Road Runner PC: One of the few game mechanics not lampshaded or defied in this series is Gordon's ability to breeze along at 10 mph without getting out of breath (and swim with equal acumen). Some of his lines suggest that he gets at least occasional exercise, but given that he's persistently interpreted as The Stoner, it's still implausible.
Rule of Funny: Freeman slurs to an extreme degree whenever dizzy. Why? Because it's goddamn funny.
Presumably, it's also the reason his inner monologue gets so muffled underwater.
...being startled by scientists or guards suddenly talking or appearing in front of him.
Complaining about flimsy, easily-broken catwalks.
Fancing whether he would be able to explain all the kills he made as N+1 cases of self-defence and getting increasingly sure that he won't.
Sanity Slippage: "OH GOD I'M OUT OF AMMO!! WHOSE JOB IS IT TO RELOAD?! YOU'RE FIRED!! WHAT DO YOU MEAN THERE'S NO AMMO LEFT?! YOU'RE FIRED TOO!!" Yep, he's talking to himself. It seems to calm him down a little.
Freeman: You know, people say you should just play the hand you've been dealt in life. You know what? Fuck that. I say that if you get a dealt a bad hand, you throw out your cards, flip the table, pull a gun on the dealer and start shooting... life, I guess.
Schizo Tech: In the Rocket Test Lab, Gordon is flabbergasted upon seeing a reel-to-reel memory storage device from the 70's. He's even more confused when he sees what looks like a punch card slot.
"What's that say? Do not obstruct laser shield? Big letters, too. That's almost asking for someone to obstruct it, isn't it? I don't care for your rules. Now I wanna see what happens when it gets obstructed!"
Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Gordon's main goal since the resonance cascade has just been to escape from the facility. But its labyrinthine design and the lethality of the firefight on the surface repeatedly force him to stay on the path.
Shaky Cam: As the series is in first-person, Gordon's freaking out and spraying bullets everywhere during a firefight creates a similar effect. Justified, as a real physicist with no prior military training would probably do that, too.
Shooting Superman: This series does away with health packs and armor rechargers in favor of simply having Gordon's Powered Armor make him impervious to low level threats (low power rounds, Bullsquid poison, Vortigaunt electrical attacks, et cetera), with the higher level threats (such as explosives, high caliber rounds, and giant monsters) being instantly fatal, forcing Freeman to always dodge them at all costs. As a result, the marines' continuous attempts to kill Gordon by just shooting him in the torso with their MP5s comes off as this. Gordon lampshades it a few times.
Shoplift and Die: Freeman imagines that in 50 years, in addition to surveillance cameras, Wal-Marts will also come equipped with roof-mounted turret guns to gun down shoplifters.
Short Range Shotgun: Averted in that Freeman uses the shotgun at a much longer range than it is effective at in-game. The creator hasn't modified it's accuracy or anything, he's just raised the damage to disguise the fact that only a few pellets are actually hitting the target in-game, making it look like it's taking several long range shots to down the target (usually a soldier). A similar thing is done with the MP5.
Gordon:[Sees a few Head Crabs in the vent] Oh, you son of a bitch! [Fires several shots with his handgun, which are immediately accompanied by a high-pitched 'eeeeeee~' sound] Gordon:Auuuugh! My ears! That was not smart... firing a gun inside an air vent! I hope I'm not deaf!
The Stoner: Gordon seems to have an unhealthy fixation with Oxycodone, though it only shows up twice so far in the series. In one of the first episodes, he presumably has a "stash" of it in his locker (which goes missing beforehand), and in Episode 17, he sees a sign reading "Oxy" and thinks it stands for Oxycodone before he realizes it's liquid oxygen for a test rocket. "I don't think you can get high off oxygen."note You can't, in case you were wondering. He later climbs into a shark cage in the hope of procurring animal tranquilizers (and is disappointed upon finding out he can't get high off the type Black Mesa uses).
Upon seeing a crawlspace in the ceiling in Episode 20, he remarks "You could store a lot of drugs in there!"
Gordon's Oxycodone addiction becomes a cross-series Brick Joke when, in episode 18 of Shephard's Mind, Adrian stops to take some antidepressants that he found in Gordon's Locker, only to discover after that fact that he had in fact overdosed on stolen Oxycodone, and spends the next episode completely stoned on the stuff.
As noted above in the Bilingual Bonus entry, Gordon straight-up offers to buy drugs from a passing scientist.
Surrounded by Idiots: Freeman's assessment of the situation, coming to the conclusion that literally everyone involved besides himnote the military, the other scientists, the designers of the building and the aliens is an idiot.
"This is... suspiciously convenient. I haven't been used to things going my way for quite a while now."
"What's with all these grenades everywhere?"
The rocket launcher leads him to revise his theory that the entire Universe wants him dead. Then, of course, the attack helicopter from before shows up again...
In episode 48, upon being introduced to a massive weapons stash by a security guard, Gordon muses on how he might have his friend Eddie sell them all and get a finder's fee out of it.
Sword Cane: Gordon wants to buy one when he gets older.
Take a Third Option: Gordon brings this up when talking about the Uncertainty Principle (how measuring an electron's position changes its momentum, and vice versa). According to Gordon, there's only one correct answer—to get drunk and light things on fire.
Take My Hand: Gordon tells an elderly scientist to do this in an early episode after the Resonance Cascade. The scientist falls soon after, letting Gordon spout a hilarious line.
Gordon: No, your other hand, you idiot!
Take Over the World: Freeman wishes he could do this, and constantly fantasizes about what he'd do if he ruled it. He also has always wanted to build a robot army, and live in a giant metal spider fortress. He has no way of actually following through on it, though, so it's pretty harmless.
Tanks, But No Tanks: Freeman refers to two Bradleys as tanks, even though they're not. Justified in that Gordon, by his own admission, knows next to nothing about this stuff, and would likely make a mistake like this.
Tanks for Nothing: Freeman somehow blows up an Abrams with a grenade launcher, and blows up a Bradley by shooting it. Both of these are obviously unrealistic, but the latter is particularly notable because said Bradley had just (realistically) taken dozens of rounds of small arms fire and three grenades without taking any damage. This is of course because the tanks and IFVs in Half-Life, just like every other enemy, could succumb to Death of a Thousand Cuts from any weapon, including the crowbar. Though these ones would only take damage from hits to the turret; their bodies were invulnerable. This is despite Ross Scott specifically saying that he wanted Freeman's Mind to be less "video game-y" than Half-Life.
The second Bradley Freeman comes across is dispatched realistically, with an anti-tank missile.
Tank Goodness: Freeman pines for this trope, having come across a tank with an open hatch but it's still locked (the actual reason of course being that Half-Life doesn't provide for driving any of the vehicles) and just thinking about it depresses him. He has to settle for using the mounted machine gun.
Tastes Like Chicken: One of Freeman's rants is against those who claim everything they haven't tried tastes like chicken, and he emphatically states that the giant tentacle he just barbecued likely tastes nothing like chicken.
Tastes Like Feet: He says the bullsquid's secretions "taste like dead caterpillars."
Team Killer: Freeman has killed (or at least incapacitated) at least one security guard intentionally, shot another after he ran in front of his gun, and comments about how the soldiers have killed their own guys on several occasions.
Tele-Frag: Gordon theorizes that the reason Black Mesa is doing so much collapsing is that aliens keep accidentally teleporting into the walls and important pieces of equipment.
In episode 42, he sees an alien shark in the water. Not wanting to have another close call, he decides to simply kill it from far away with his machine gun. After firing about thirty rounds into the water, he fires his grenade launcher just to be sure.
When the helicopter starts firing missiles at him, instead of just taking him out with its machine gun, he declares it to be a case of this.
He has a similar reaction when the soldiers start firing artillery at him at the dam.
Freeman: Dammit! Pretty sure this is unconstitutional, even cops aren't allowed to mortar people. I mean what happened? Was there an emergency session of congress to vote on bombing me!?
Freeman concludes that this is the reason the military puts trip-mines everywhere.
Freeman: I guess the idea is that if an alien comes by here, we blow it up and the side of a building.
In episode 56, he takes out a Grunt with a rocket launcher because he's low on other ammo. He then spends the rest of the episode ruminating on whether it's 'honorable' to use such an overpowered weapon.
This Is My Side: He declares one of the laser tripwires to be "the line" and tells the aliens to stay on their side of it. Apparently he played the trope straight in college.
Training from Hell: Freeman is flabbergasted to see a squad of soldiers entrenched on the narrow paths of a mountain. He wonders if this is the reason that they're there.
Freeman: And if over 2/3 of the recruits die, then they can label it as intensive training.
Too Dumb to Live: In episode 41, Gordon recruits a scientist to open the door leading outside, but first has to get past a couple of spinning blades. Gordon easily moves through them and tries to coach the scientist to do the same. The next thing you hear is *SPLAT*. Gordon is annoyed. Luckily, there were two more scientists to work with.
Took a Level in Badass: Discussed. Gordon theorises that the zombies are getting smarter after two of them seem to set an ambush for him.
Took a Level in Jerkass: Freeman gets noticeably more callous, uncaring, and cynical as the series goes on. Compare episode 4, where he tries to save a scientist from falling, to episode 10, where he says to a scientist "You're on your own, chump" and abandons him. He also talks about how slavery was a good idea (though overly restricted by only targeting one race) and makes a back-up plan in case he accidentally shoots a civilian. There's a couplereasons for this. He does show concern when a helpful scientist is shot and demands he find gauze and disinfectant. He seems to believe in survival of the fittest as he doesn't care when idiots get themselves killed, but he likes people to stay alive if they are helpful, smart, and DON'T piss him off.
To Serve Man: Inverted when Freeman contemplates eating the aliens in episode 51, but lacks a means by which to cook them.
Tracking Device: In episode 33, Gordon is understandably upset when he learns his suit is full of these, which is how the HECU has been tracking him.
In Episode 45, he wonders why he can't use it, then decides it's to deter thieves like him.
Gordon: If this suit has a GPS tracking system in it, how come I can't see where I am? It must be an anti-theft feature. I would have stolen this thing a long time ago if I'd known how functional it was.
Trademark Favorite Food: Doritos. Freeman spends several episodes musing about them, and when he gets them in episodes 10-11, he thinks there's something wrong with them, despite having "enough preservatives in them to mummify a small dog."
In later episodes, he spends considerable time talking about pizza, and unusual ways of delivering it (via trams, amphibious deliveries to beaches, etc.). Unsurprisingly, this begins to happen not long after Freeman mentions that he's pretty hungry, and generally coincides with his surroundings - being near trams, water, etc.
Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Gordon's "apprehension" at the end of episode 34 consisted of at least one blow to the head. In episode 35, he can't remember the events of the previous day or so, including the resonance cascade scenario. It's not until halfway through episode 37, after he faces a bullsquid, that he really starts to remember all of what had happened.
But for some reason he has false memories of it being caused by a Lovecraftian cult.
He's not exactly wrong.
Two-Keyed Lock: Gordon comments on the unusual lack of this (among other security measures) at the launch site. Granted, it's not for a missile like he thought it was, but still.
Unfriendly Fire: In episode 30, an officer blows up a pair of his troops with a grenade launcher. Freeman theorizes this is the reason.
Gordon: I don't even think he was aiming for me; I was just the excuse!
Unusually Uninteresting Sight: As the series goes on, Freeman gets less and less surprised about the stupidity of the rest of the human species, and his constant near death experiences. For example, in episode 10, he doesn't even seem to care that zombies can punch right through concrete walls, even though that would be very bad for him if they ever got close. In episode 46, he can't even bring himself to utter a "what the fuck?" when he sees an entire missile testing facility turned into a giant trip-minefield by the "rescue team". Instead, he simply says "this room confirms every theory I had about the soldiers".
Valley Girl: Gordon talks like this after having sung "Modern Major General" trying to justify his actions to a corpse.
Vanity Plate: The Accursed Farms cow appears at the end of every episode.
Violation of Common Sense: He occasionally does this in order to progress, as in the game. Usually lampshaded, like when he speculates that the surprisingly-flimsy concrete barriers are actually just Styrofoam.
In Episode 0, he lampshades the stupidity of having to jump from a great height onto a target painted on the concrete floor during the Hazard Course. The idea in the actual game, of course, is to demonstrate what kinds of falls will actually hurt. In this series, Gordon decides to simply lie about finishing the test, assuming his supervisors will be too lazy to check.
Stand out examples include making a running jump across an elevator shaft onto a ladder and running through an open area and strafing to dodge while a Bradley fires its 25mm autocannon at him. He lampshades how maneuvers like this could very easily get him killed:
Freeman: (upon making the jump) OH MY GOD! That was stupid, why do I keep doing stupid things, oh my god, oh- I could've died!
Freeman: (formulating his plan to make it past the Bradley) And this tank needs... seconds, to turn the barrel left and right. So that's my window of really shitty opportunity.
Freeman: It's so easy to try to explain this all as just "aliens". But it's aliens and teleportation and a conspiracy against me, and drugs, and in-house genocide, and ghosts, and now these... cosmic disco balls?
In a straighter example, Gordon considers bloodstains and dead bodies to be signs of danger, to be avoided, rather than considering them "clues" like a video game player would. This means he often misses supplies and ignores areas most gamers would explore. Notably, he skirted the room where the first shotgun is located, and so did not find one until two full chapters later. More recently he avoided picking up the Tau Cannon, an extremely powerful weapon, in part because it was covered in blood and body parts at the scene of a recent explosion. The other part, though, was that he'd heard the scientist and guard talking about it...and getting killed from it overcharging.
Freeman: "I doubt it's any safer with blood all over it."
Then later in Episode 47, he avoids getting the Hivehand and instead tries to kill it, thinking it's just another alien that wants to kill him.
Throughout the series he continues to believe that the Black Ops enemies are ninjas. However, this is a case when following the wrong genre is a good thing; because he thinks they're ninjas, he carefully searches for them everywhere and manages to gun them down without much difficulty.
You ALL Look Familiar: Gordon says the only thing that makes him stand out is his beard, being the only scientist with one. Aside from him, you've got black scientist, Einstein scientist, bald scientist, and security guard.