From Australium to Zepheniah Mann TF2 didn't start with a lot of story. There wasn't room for one. But as the updates got more ambitious, we found the perfect way to explore the mercs' world: comics. Over the years, the comics have spawned ancillary characters, then assistants to the ancillary characters. Companies mentioned in passing became global empires three generations old. The game that started as a handful of guys in a desert shooting at each other slowly blossomed into the most labyrinthine story in Valve history.
—The TF2 Team
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Author Avatar: Many of the items are credited in supplemental material to "TF Industries", based in the same place as Valve.
Follow the Leader - H.A.V.E. Online/Microvolts, a Korean free-to-play game, has a trailer that shares a lot of similarities to the "Meet the X" videos. Gameplay itself is actually different (it's third person, there are no classes - only customizing weapons and appearance, it's got more in common with Unreal Tournament or Gunz The Duel), but there's still a lot it owes to TF2 (giblets and the weapons).
Expospeak Gag: Commenting on the first prize winner for the propaganda contest, the team wrote that "It's funny, it looks great, and it makes us want to kick a Demoman in an extremely precise area (that the bean counters won't let us mention because they're all such huge extremely precise areas)."
Fourth Wall Mail Slot: The Administrator/Announcer, the Soldier, the Scout, the Sniper and Saxton Hale have all posted on the TF2 blog. Also the Heavy, who replaced the Soldier when he was on jury duty. The Pyro has also made a post.
Administrator: [Re: the Propaganda art contest] I must grudgingly admit an astonishing amount of talent on display. I hasten to add, however, that I find it astonishing only because, in observing how you comport yourselves in-game, on the forums, and presumably in your day-to-day lives, one would be forgiven for assuming you bereft of the cognitive skills needed to operate a mailbox.
Soldier: This is the problem with the youth of today: too much time inventing nonsense words, not enough time taking a bullet in the lung defending a hill. I don't have to know what the hell twitters and texting and body sprays are to understand that they're not the sort of thing men should be engaged in. Like conversations, or painting things that aren't a house.
Saxton Hale: First, let me [/] COMMEND [ ] SWEAR VIGOROUSLY AT you...
Going so far as to have an actual mail slot, during several of the larger content patches and updates for the game there would be order forms for the in-game items that players could print out and send to Mann Co. These people would then get an invoice from Saxton Hale stating that the item they requested is out of stock, but something else was usually thrown in with the letter (a Scout keychain for the FAN order form, and a picture of Saxton Hale if the coupon was sent during the Sniper vs. Spy update).
They had to close this mail slot for legal reasons: the fans' order forms included actual payment for the items (that didn't exist).
BUT THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL... was inside you all along. It's blood! Turns out you can sell it! See you at the plasma center! Merry Smissmas, everybody!
Large Ham: Whoever's posting as the TF2 Team. From one of the Smissmas updates:
" 'Wait, which holiday?' you may be wondering. "Australian Christmas? Or Smissmas?" Both! Read this comic to find out what happens when holidays collide! Two special days enter the squared circle! ONLY ONE LEAVES!"
When revealing that the Heavy's final unlockable weapon was in fact a sandwich, Valve prepared a video and a purchasable poster celebrating it.
They later lampshaded this, saying that they'd originally claimed that the video would be "our magnum opus," "over four hours long" and "make Citizen Kane look like something dumb a complete idiot would make."
No, Except Yes: In the introduction for The Second Annual Saxxy Awards:
What you don’t know is that we’ve decided to make the Saxxy’s a lot more like an illegal underground martial-arts bloodsport. That’s right: This year there are no rules. There are, however, a whole bunch of brutal laws, traditions, commandments and decrees, plus some rules.
Noodle Incident: It appears that the TF2 development team are so mired in disaster that they're on a First Name Basis with the police, the fire department and "the nasal extraction emergency response team at Overlake Hospital".
The last nasal extraction emergency involved someone with a peanut M&M lodged up their nose, mentioned in an attempt to explain the delay of the Heavy update.
"All the signs are there. When you kill a man, you can actually see his last breath hanging in the chill mid-November pre-specialness air. Turkeys have retreated to their bunkers in a vain attempt to weather the upcoming onslaught of holidays devoted to gleeful turkey slaughter. And are those sleighbells we hear? Because our legal department assures us they aren't. That's right, TFers. It's beginning to look a lot like an upcoming holiday our legal department won't let us mention, but that rhymes with 'Smissmas'."
"What is it, Bidwell. Of course I can listen to you and type at the same time. Look. Still typing. What? What do you mean they can make the films about anything? Why would they want to do that? No, it's not arrogance, Bidwell, it's just common damn sense. If you can make a film about anything, make it about me. What? Because I'm Saxton Hale, that's why."
Running Gag: Lately, whoever is writing the game's patch notes must be tired of writing the same "Updated the localization files":
January 17, 2012 - "Did not update the localization files" February 9, 2012 - "Lokalisierungsdateien aktualisiert": "Updated the localization files" in German February 14, 2012 - "Hcqngrq gur ybpnyvmngvba svyrf": rot13 transforms to "Updated the localization files" February 23, 2012 - "언어 파일 업데이트": "Updated the localization files" in Korean March 1, 2012 - "Arquivos de localização atualizados": "Updated localization files" in Portuguese March 15, 2012 - A QR code that translates to "Updated the localization files" March 28, 2012 - "Did not update the localization files that did not need updating"
April 27, 2012 - "sǝlıℲ uoıʇɐʇɐzılɐɔo˥ pǝʇɐpd∩": "Australian" for "Updated localization files"
The TF2 Team also like mentioning Dracula.
Selective Enforcement: The Halloween 2011 blog post states that the development team decided to take the scares out of the Halloween event, although they make an exception regarding hats.
"For instance, one playtester thought the Pyro was a little scary, so we’ll probably remove him as a class. Someone else swore he remembered reading something about somebody getting hurt by a gun once. And that sounded scary. So probably no more guns, either. Then Dracula called from the hospital. 'Hey guys,' he said, 'hats are pretty scary.' Well, now, that must have been the morphine talking. So we’re adding more hats just to be safe."
Take That: The dev team seems very aware of how broken their base is, and enjoys poking fun at people who yell about hats, or about "disappointing" updates. One of the more hilarious digs was the Classless Update. The first page of it was basically a long love letter to hats, calling them the ultimate status symbol, and explaining how having a hat made you better than everyone else. Each page also said something like "100% free!" "STILL free!" or "Holy crap! Better than expensive! It's free!"
Also, the page that shows us the Crafting System tells us to "say goodbye to those enjoyable evenings spent complaining on the forums about which item in your inventory was the most useless, spraying anti-Australian racist hate speech all over Robin Walker, his lovely wife, and his beautiful children." They also mention that anyone who loves all the weapons in TF2 is a "quiet minority", who could at least balance out the whingeing with a few nice posts.
The page prior to that has some jokes hidden in the blackboard, most notably "DROP=Infinity* (Robot/(1-Cat.3))" and "Fire=Q^2" (QQ, an emoticon for Rage Quit).
In the comic for the WAR! Update, the Demoman's mother scolds him for his idleness.
"The whole process came together surprisingly well, considering that the artists haven't been on speaking terms with the programmers since the programmers tricked them into playing SpaceChem ('It's sort of like Skyrim, but with more post-modern pointalism[sic]')."
The post about "Meet the Sandvich" explains that their draft was the script of Predator with the script of Road House in the middle. When this was rejected, the entire video was improvised by the voice actors, and the only lines added by the writers were stolen from those two films and The Simpsons.
When the dev team confront the writers with questions about how the Mac Update comic fits into the TF2 world, the writers take fright, shuffle their feet and make "a frantic search through the internet for fancy excuse words" before declaring it non-canon. The Engineer Update story is apparently intended to fill "a canon-shaped void in the lives of TF2's biggest story fans — our writers".
Actually Four Mooks: In media outside the game, there appears to be only one version of each character. Ring of Fired confirms there are only 9 mercenaries, yet one of the secret pages in the Pyromania Update notes that the Administrator has to sign 18 paychecks for the mercs. Also, both teams exist, and there are at least two spies. It goes back and forth.
Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: The Soldier vs Demoman update named several major characters: The Administrator's name is given as Helen; RED Demoman is Tavish Degroot; BLU Soldier is (apparently) Jane Doe; BLU Engineer is Dell Conagher; and RED Sniper is Mr. Mundy.
Tomato in the Mirror: Parodied in the Bombinomicon comic on the front page. A random guy bemoans that he was the monster all along, which is advertised as a twist ending... with a note beneath explaining that this is not, in fact, the twist ending.
Unsound Effect: FLEX! COUGAR! PROPERTY DAMAGE! BUTTON PRESS! HEROIC LEAP! Very common, especially if Saxton Hale is around.
This extends to statues/action figures of Saxton Hale as well. COMPOUND ELEVATED SKULL FRACTURE!
Wham Episode: The comic "Blood Brothers". It changes everything. Including the team's reasons for killing each other, presumably.
Ring of Fired begins with Gray Mann taking over Mann Co. and ends with a newspaper headline declaring that Spy and Scout are about to be hanged.
Writers Suck: The script presented for the "Meet The Sandvich" video is just the script for Predator attached to the script for Road House, and the writers fail to grasp why everyone else is unimpressed by this. Instead, the voice actors improvise, which the writers grasp as "other people doing all the work for us", though their attempts to join in are just lines quoted from other works (mostly Predator and Road House.)
Haunted Hallowe'en Special
Added Alliterative Appeal: All over the place in Scream Fortress. Mann Manor, Cadaver's Cranium, and the Horseless Headless Horsemann to name a few.
Lost In Transmission: The last article of the will reads "Lastly, to [obscured by sand]note later revealed to be "most trusted Elizabeth" I leave the entirety of my [obscured by sand]note later revealed to be "'miracle' gravel cache, uncovered with Barnabus during a trip to Terra Australis. My weakling son Gray resurfaced last year and has treathened to blackmail me for it. I give the gravel to you" and swear you to utmost secrecy in its keeping."
Sniper vs. Spy Update
Ascended Extra: The camera beard, which was dismissed by the spy as being "ridiculous"... 3 months before it was given to him as an accessory.
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The Administrator before a round during the update: "All you ever do is disappoint and betray me. Cheating. Stealing. Friend-making!"
Body-Count Competition: Between opposing Demomen and Soldiers. Whichever class could kill the most of the other class by the end of the war gets a pair of shoes.
Poor Communication Kills: The Administrator and Miss Pauling convince both the RED Demoman and BLU Soldier (who were both willing to be killed rather than take the offer of killing the other for custom weapons) that the other had already betrayed them, which led to the war. Sadly, they ended up believing that they'd been betrayed instead of contacting the other.
Rousing Speech: The BLU Soldier and the RED Demoman have one on their respective update pages.
Suspiciously Specific Denial: American Monkeynaut Poopy Joe was given the Eyelander, Buff Banner, and Equalizer before his journey into space. Mann Co. claims they were nowhere near the launch site of Poopy Joe's aircraft and had nothing to do with the explosion that occured moments later, and those three items were obtained in entirely innocent circumstances. Also, the company's seemingly rushed sale of a high-precision rocket launcher was not in any way connected with Poopy Joe's tragic death.
Right Hand Versus Left Hand: The update revealed that both RED and BLU are controlled by the same Administrator. The whole war was started just to prevent this fact from getting out.
Anachronism Stew: The Mac Update gives out iPod earbuds to mercenaries from the mid-twentieth century. The supplementary comic goes even further; the RED team finds an Apple store that includes flatscreen televisions, iMacs, and miniguns that set up blogs and post blog entries when they are fired.
Abraham Lincoln: the identity of the original 1850-era BLU team Pyro. According to the artist of the "Loose Canon" comic, this was one of the few specific characterizations that they wanted for the team's design.
Art Shift: The style of the Replay Update comic is noticeably looser than that of the previous comics, due to Andrea Wicklund (artist of the Lab Rat comic)'s coloring style.
Award Show: The winners of the contest were announced "live" (one winner every 5 minutes). The main page featured a countdown timer between announcements, and a subplot about how...
Bears Are Bad News: Saxton Hale accidentally let a bear loose during the ceremony. During the live-updating of the Awards page, the image of Saxton presenting the awards would occasionally refresh to reveal said bear slowly approaching the stage, only for it to get beaten to a pulp by Saxton himself.
Administrator:I sent you those photos. Soldier: MY HEADS!!! Administrator: Yes. I took the heads too. Rest assured, they have been destroyed. Soldier:NOOOOOOOOOOOOO- Administrator: The photos, Mister Doe. Your heads are safe.
Call Back: A number to the Meet the Team videos, one of the most blatant being here.
Comically Missing the Point: The Heavy was sent a photo of his house and himself, sleeping. He has a separate, smaller bed for "Sascha" [sic], his minigun. Scout says that's pretty embarrassing. The Heavy agrees; he needs to buy Sasha a better bed.
Miss Pauling: The Administrator sees this as a perfect opportunity to show the good people of Badlands you're not just armed psychopaths blowing up all their landmarks on a daily basis. The Administrator: I see this as a perfect opportunity, Miss Pauling, to spy on the armed psychopaths we're paying to blow each other up on a daily basis.
Early-Bird Cameo: In the last panel, the Medic can be seen holding the Quick-Fix, his new Medigun that he got in the Über Update. The final panel also includes stills from "Meet the Medic", which would not be released until several months later.
Even Evil Has Standards: To keep them in line, the Administrator sends Sniper photos of his parents, and Heavy photos of his minigun, and Soldier... gets a head in a box, and a photograph of the empty space where his collection of heads used to be.
Spy: Whose... head is that?
Soldier: MINE!!! The question is, where are the other seven?!
Freudian Excuse: Played straight and then averted. The Director informs us of a tragic backstory for the Heavy to explain his actions, but the Heavy isn't interested in talking about it. He knows he isn't that complicated:
Heavy: I. Like. To shoot. This gun. Is all you need to know.
Brick Joke: In 2010, the teams were sent back in time for the then new map, DeGroot Keep. The explanation was that "the Soldier angered a magician". In this comic, it's revealed that the magician is the Soldier's roommate.
Disproportionate Retribution: Merasmus sends MONOCULUS! to fight the team after the Soldier breaks his staff, proclaiming the party to be over. Also, the trope is inverted with the Heavy when he gives a child $7000 as an apology for calling the boy fat.
Evil Gloating: The Bombinomicon after it possesses the young Demoman's eye. Merasmus isn't angry at him because anything horrible is going to happen, but because he has to live with the book. The Bombinomicon was going to return the eye but was too busy chattering before Merasmus forcefully removes it.
Ghost Story: The Demoman tells one about how he lost his eye.
Soldier: Nobody invited you, Merasmus! Merasmus: Do not anger Merasmus! A magician invites himself! Soldier: I am going to invite that staff straight up your ass and push you around like a broom! Merasmus: Well, that would certainly be the first time you swept anything!
You Are Fat: Being called fat is what finally makes one of the trick-or-treaters cry.
Heavy: Every day Heavy risk life. To earn money. To feed family. Instead, you would have Heavy spend this money. On stupid candy. For you. You presumptuous... lazy... fat... Boy: Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Heavy: Oh. Um. Stop. Heavy did not mean this. Little child is not fat. People call Heavy fat. Please stop crying. Here. Here is seven thousand dollars.
Call Back: The rocket is similar to the one in "Grordbort's Crash". It contains weapons as well.
They were both part of the same promotion with "Dr. Grordbort's", a prop weaponry company run by WETA (yes, thatWETA). A third promotion is coming eventually, with weapons and cosmetic items for Scout and Medic, but these are yet to be released.
Engineer: Pyro, you been writin' letters to other dimensions?
Engineer: Naw, me neither.
Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The message that came with the rocket full of weapons about "hearing [the Engineer and Pyro's] plea" is a very thinly veiled nod to people who had been displeased with the lack of new weapons for the two classes.
"Those mobsters were just about to give up the hunt, when up in that cold night sky they saw a star. The brightest star they ever saw. So they followed it. And after a spell they saw a sight that filled 'em with wonder... Ol' Nick, forcin' a buncha naughty kids to make all manner of guns, smack dab in the middle of Antarctica."
True Meaning Of Christmas: Despite the title drop, since the tale the Engineer reads to the Pyro parodies a bunch of Christmas tropes, the true meaning of Australian Christmas/Smissmas isn't clear. Also, the comic is more about the two getting new weapons.
Miss Pauling: First things first. How did Soldier become a public defender? Spy: It's a long story, but chapter one: his roommate is a magician. Should I continue? Miss Pauling: You know what? Nevermind. Spy: Thank you.
Scout: Why don't you bring that little mink stole over here and show me how stupid my wrappin' paper is?
Badass Cape: Old Nick has a couple of koala pelts for a cape.
Blooper: The Soldier's bandolier goes over his left shoulder, then the right shoulder for a few pages, then returns to the left. The Spy picks an icicle off the phone box when there wasn't one in earlier panels.
But for Me, It Was Tuesday: When asked to describe how saving the children from Old Nick feels, Scout simply describes it as a "Saturday".
Dynamic Entry: Old Nick announces his entrance by having one of his kangaroos kick the door open.
Early-Bird Cameo: The cover of the comic has a Balloonicorn ornament on the tree.
Face Palm/Head Desk: The Spy and Soldier are the Scout's legal counsel. When the Soldier confirms the Scout's testimony, the Spy facepalms and rests his head against the desk.
Lethal Joke Item: ...which, when coupled with an ornament from a nearby tree, makes a handy bludgeon. (In the game, the fragments of ornament allow a bleed effect.)
Mall Santa: The Spy, Scout, and Soldier have to work in a mall during the holiday season. The Soldier is dressed as Santa. He soon gives Little Jack a haircut, then picks a fight with the boy's father.
Mistaken for Spies: The Scout mistakes Little Jack as the Spy in disguise, until the Spy appears with someone from the press.
Noodle Incident: How the Soldier became a defender in a court of law is not elaborated upon.
Waving Signs Around: In the courtroom, a man sitting a few rows behind the Soldier and Spy has a sign that reads "BLU & RED OUT OF TEUFORT". The team certainly gets better press after they save the town's children from Old Nick.
Saxton Hale Hates Your Guts: Despite the fact that his company's facilities are under attack by a horde of robots, Saxton Hale refuses to give his company's powerful experimental weapons to his mercenaries for free, which means they have to find a way to pay for them.
Alternate Reality Game/Foreshadowing: The ARG leading up to the update made reference to "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches", a Sherlock Holmes mystery involving The Reveal of a previously unknown heir to a sizable inheritance. Guess what Gray Mann is?
Soldier: I have studied robots for years! I once stared at a toaster for three months to get into the minds of these monsters! And there are three things I know for sure: They are smarter than us! They are stronger than us! And they can make toast.
Back-to-Back Badasses: The teams as seen in the trailer. Six mercenaries, armed with only two shotguns, a syringe gun, a baseball bat, a rocket launcher, a grenade launcher, and a bottle manage to destroy a tank of robots.
Chekhov's Gun: The Damaged (Barely-Melted) Capacitor from the Pyromania ARG was one of only two items that was not destroyed during Pyromania. In the Mann vs. Machine ARG, it became one of the main factors in solving the ARG.
Conservation of Ninjutsu: In the trailer, six mercenaries armed with one weapon each are able to defeat hundreds of robots.
Dramatic Gun Cock: Twice in the trailer; the Engineer does this with two shotguns at once, and the Demoman does it again... to the same shotgun.
Early-Bird Cameo: In the trailer, the Soldier has a Canteen with him, which was introduced the next day. He also has a cigar in his mouth, which was later released as an in-game item.
Enemy Mine: The former RED and BLU Mercenaries team up to take on an army of look-a-like robots.
Expy/Affectionate Parody: The Alamo, which is sentient and narrates the story, seems to be an expy of the Crypt Keeper, at least in terms of its writing style (i.e. lots of alliteration, affectionate nicknames for its readers, announcing the name of the story in a dramatic fashion, and forcing morbid puns into sentences).
Freeze-Frame Bonus: On the table in the BLU Soldier and Demoman's game is a photo of the BLU Scout's mother from Meet the Spy.
Funny Background Event: In "A Fate Worse Then Chess", on page 28 and 29, the RED Soldier is picking his nose, and the Spy next to him looks disgusted.
Gameplay and Story Segregation/Never Trust a Trailer: In the update, the BLU team and RED team join forces to fight Gray Mann's robot army. In-game, only the RED team is selectable on the class screen, probably for ease of identification, as the robots are considered BLU.
If I Wanted You Dead...: In the trailer, some of the RED team surprise a BLU Soldier and Demoman playing cards. Instead of shooting them, the RED Heavy tosses a shotgun to the BLU Demoman.
Mecha-Mooks: The human-sized robots in the trailer appear to be this, or the mercenaries are really, really good at staying alive.
Mr. Seahorse: The brothers' plan to put an end to their bickering and produce an heir. Neither of them seem to be able to grasp why science can't make it work.
To be fair, a) they're both slightly senile; b) they work with Saxton Hale, who breaks the laws of reality for a laugh; and c) they each have an immortality machine. Claiming that "the laws of science don't allow it" is a weak excuse.
Money Spider: Parodied; the robots run on piles of money. Lampshaded by Miss Pauling, who tells the mercenaries she doesn't know how or why this is, but they're entitled to whatever the robots drop.
Running Gag: The development team's love of hats shows up here — the giant Deflector Heavy is wearing a ushanka, and in the last page of "A Fate Worse Than Chess", the RED Demoman dons Prince Tavish's Crown.
Shout-Out: Saxton Hale's alias as "Dr. Joanbaez" is a reference to Joan Baez, a singer best known for her relationship with Bob Dylan. Bidwell's disguise looks like the outfit worn by The Beatles in "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band".
Miss Pauling: This isn't like any other assignment you've been given. It's much, much more serious. This isn't just a fight for Mann Co., or Saxton Hale. It's a fight for your jobs.
Superdickery: Parodied with the cover for Alamo Vs. Hercules.
We've promised it before! It has never actually happened! Now, after 306 scene-setting issues, we're doing it! Not a dream! Not a hoax! Not an imaginary story! NOT THIS TIME! Finally... Hercules and The Alamo will fight!note Racism, in this socially conscious alternate universe team-up!
Miss Pauling: Are there any questions? RED Sniper: I got one. We getting paid for this? Saxton Hale: Saxton Hale again. This is pre-taped, so I don't know what anybody's talking about right now, but I am not paying you for this.
Time Skip: The beginning of "Blood Brothers" says it takes place "Some time in the future." Gray states he was born in 1822 and had been watching his brothers for 150 years; assuming he meant exactly 150 years, this puts the date at 1972, four years ahead of the 1968 year shown by in-game calendars.
Thanks to subsequent updates, we've pinned "Blood Brothers" at October 29th or 30th, 1970.
Haunted Castle: It's the same castle as before, but it's less scary-looking this time because the Soldier trashes it and is about to turn it into a raccoon sanctuary.
Humiliation Conga: The Soldier buries Merasmus's fridge (and washing machine) in the yard, gets his castle infested by raccoons, and has his home forcefully converted into a raccoon sanctuary owned by the Soldier. Merasmus is mistaken for a woman multiple times by a city official, is heavily fined, gets taunted for his misfortune, and finally, his body is burned by the Soldier when his spirit leaves his body.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Soldier is so completely oblivious to the consequences of his own atrocious behavior that he can't quite understand why his roommate would be mad at him for destroying their house, or why his teammates would be upset that Merasmus has decided to target them as well.
Ahem: The Medic and Heavy clear their throats and nudge Miss Pauling when she mentions that not all of the team are Americans.
Bilingual Bonus: Averted. The update page text either says the same thing as the English or is related flavor text.
Blatant Lies: When Soldier insists he infiltrated the robot base:
Solder: Come on guys! Why would I lie? We're all Americans here! Miss Pauling: Well, not all of us, obviously. Medic's German and Heavy's from Russ— [Heavy elbows her, Medic coughs] Ow! What? Oh. Heavy: Ha ha! Germany! Russia! Is big joke! Big American joke on Soldier! Ooh, America. It is the place I am from. All the time. Soldier: Ha! You got me!
Blooper: The robot Pyro on the cover has the wrong-colored flamethrower.
Call Back: On the final page of "A Fate Worse Than Chess", the Soldier is picking his nose. This time, he's won a nose-picking contest and is doing the same when inside Gray Mann's base.
Humongous Mecha: According to the update page, the Engineer robot will be over a hundred feet tall! ...While the parenthetical text says otherwise. The real reason is that the image is based on a movie poster — see Shout-Out below.
Soldier: Miss Pauling, are you braced? Because you will need to brace yourself for what I am about to show you. Miss Pauling: I'm braced. Let's see it, Soldier. Soldier: Are you sitting down? Because you should not be in a comfortable bowel-emptying position for what I am about to show you. Miss Pauling: I'm standing. You're looking right at me. Soldier: Okay, but are you pregnant? You should not b— Miss Pauling: Soldier, show me!
Noodle Incident: Archimedes is wearing a tiny, bird-sized neck brace. Perhaps it's a Call Back to when he was knocked off the Quick-Fix in Meet The Medic.
Not So Different: In "Blood Brothers", Gray Mann is disgusted by his brothers fighting over possession of worthless gravel. Here, readers learn that he has his own gravel company by the time his robot Engineer is built.
Oh Crap: The Soldier, Heavy, and Miss Pauling's reactions when they're caught inside the robot facility.
Painting the Medium: The robots use an appropriate typeface and color in their speech and say the tags out loud:
Scout Robot: *beepboop* The humans were waiting for us at the last five attack sites, master. Somehow they <italics on>knew.<italics off>
The robots mention how they were tricked by the decoy base built by the "tactical mastermind".
The Soldier's disguise is actually his Halloween costume. Miss Pauling and the Heavy eventually don the same costumes when infiltrating Gray Mann's facility, and all the robots are fooled save for the newly built robot Engineer.
Player Generated Economy: This update added the Steam Community Market, an organized trading system for game items and money.
Gray Mann: And—just so I'm clear—you suspect these security leaks are due to some heretofore unknown "tactical mastermind" in their ranks. ...And not, for instance, because you mention our secret attack plans at every opportunity.
Scout Robot: *baddaboop* Affirmative. We believe it is the same genius who masterminded the decoy base *beep boop over here*[towards a newspaper with a headline that reads "Local Man Wins Nose Picking Contest"]
Spot The Thread: Inverted. Miss Pauling is able to tell the Soldier isn't delusional about infiltrating the robot base when he mentions that Grey Mann was raised by eagles, a fact that was kept undisclosed from the team.
Author Appeal: Cat Bountry has a soft spot for Engineer and Pyro being bros, Pomeranians, and the Heavy x Medic pairing. Naturally, Engie gets focus, a Pomeranian named Sir Butternubs is President, and Heavy and Medic are standing next to each other (she apparently asked The Heartsman, the artist, to draw them close together, and he did.)
Canon Discontinuity: In KritzKast's interview with the team that created the Robotic Boogaloo update, the comic's creators clarified that the comic is non-canon, but can be viewed as a possible Alternate Universe.
To clarify: the fact that the mercs have flawlessly defended Mann Co. for over a year, and that Grey is rapidly going bankrupt, is all canon. The half-hour's worth of events actually depicted in the comic are not.
Dartboard of Hate: Gray uses the cover of a magazine with Saxton Hale's portrait as a dartboard.
Money to Burn: The mercenaries have destroyed so many robots that they don't know what to do with all their money. The Pyro is shown shoveling a pile into the fireplace. The Soldier even eats a money sandwich!
Shaggy Dog Story: Just before Future Engineer arrives, Soldier was about to open one of the crates. After Future Engineer leaves, Soldier continues to open one of the crates. In other words, Future Engineer literally accomplished nothing by going back in time.
Stating the Simple Solution: Scoutbot tells Gray Mann maybe he could try building new robots that run on something other than money. Gray responds with what is either a Death Glare of "but that's NOT HOW IT'S DONE!!!", or an epiphany of a completely unrelated, still-completely-ridiculous plan.
Schmuck Bait: The time-traveling Engineer's warnings to the team not to open the crates just makes them want to open them.
Time Skip: Takes place almost a year after the Mann Vs. Machine update.
Coincidental Newspaper: Demo and Miss Pauling are discussing finding Spy and Scout, only for Miss Pauling to spot a newspaper from across the room that reveals both of their locations. They're on death row.
Continuity Nod: There are plenty to past comics, all helpfully pointed out by caption boxes.
Critical Research Failure: In-universe: Ghost D.A. disappears with a "doodily-doodily-doot" noise. The Eyelander, being possessed by a ghost, points out that it never does that, and questions whether the writers are actually ghosts. Additionally...
Eyelander: Ugh. "The defense rests"? He's the @$%ing prosecution! Ghost D.A.! "District Attorney!" It's in the title of the @$%ing show!
Death by Cameo: Tom Jones spends one panel alive before the Soldier sneaks up on him and snaps his neck.
Immortality Seeker: Gray wanted control of Mann Co. so he could get a large supply of Australium for his life extender.
Karma Houdini: A couple of old ladies are shocked by the Solder killing Tom Jones, and Miss Pauling lectures him about it but only to keep up her disguise. He's never punished for it and Merasmus gets arrested instead.
Putting the Band Back Together: The mercs have been let go from Mann Co., and Miss Pauling is trying to get them back together under orders from the Administrator.
Reality Ensues: As much as reality can be had in the world of TF2: Spy and Scout are arrested for what they did during their time working for RED and are due to be executed. It's implied that that's what'll happen to the other seven if they're caught.
Sheathe Your Sword: Saxton Hale is challenged to a fistfight with the CEO of Gray Gravel, the winner getting control of Mann Co. Gray Gravel's CEO isn't Gray Mann, but his five-year-old daughter. Hale forfeits the fight, and his company.
Show Within a Show: The Demoman and his sword watch a crime drama called "Ghost D.A." It's hilariously bad, and Demo and the Eyelander complain about it.
Talking Weapon: It's shown that the Eyelander is fully sentient and can hold conversations.
Time Skip: Six months between Hale losing control of Mann Co. and the plot kicking off.
For those trying to keep track, the universe's date is now September 1972, according to the timestamp of Scout's and Spy's photos.
Wham Episode: Begins with Hale losing Mann Co to Gray and the reveal that Gray has a daughter, followed quickly by the team being broken up, and ends with another reveal, this time that Spy and Scout are due to be hanged.
Wham Headline: A newspaper headline on the last page reads "MERC SCUM TO HANG" above mugshots of Spy and Scout.
Call Back: Soldier is apparently still a lawyer, and Blutarch and Redmond actually ask him to settle the legal matter of who owns the gravel pits. Never mind that they're both at present ineligible for ownership on account of not quite being alive anymore.
The picture Soldier uses to advertise his legal services is the photograph of him winning the nose-picking contest from "Shadow Boxers".
Framing Device: The story is being told by Merasmus, who is in jail from the events of Ring of Fired.
Indian Burial Ground: It turns out that road to Hell goes through one of these, setting up the gameplay for Scream Fortress 2013.
Midquel: It takes place after Blood Brothers and Doom-mates but before Ring of Fired.
Sequel Episode: The bulk of the story begins moments after Gray kills Blutarch and Redmond.
Noodle Incident: Turns out Soldier is also a priest (just not in New Mexico) and an exorcist (but only in Guam).
Wimp Fight: Blutarch and Redmond engage in one after they argue about who died first and thus who won the gravel pits.
Once again, Medic stops a barrage of rockets from multiple soldiers in a Big Damn Heroes moment.
Heavy's decapitated head has the same expression (and is the same model) as the one the Soldier was lecturing in his "Meet The Soldier" video.
Groin Attack: When the Robo-Soldiers charge the newly revived team, Heavy, Scout, Sniper, and Pyro shield their faces with their arms, but Soldier nervously places his hands over a slightly lower area...
Torches and Pitchforks: Something Medic's family was (and still seems to be) on the receiving end of for generations. Seems to be a Brick Joke to the flavor text of Meet The Medic:
Not every mad doctor lives in a castle surrounded by villagers with pitchforks. Sometimes they live in the trenches, where there's plenty of spare parts flying around and a pressing need to get inventive with them.
Call Back: To A Smissmas Story and, in a subtle way, to the War! Update.
Especially so with the former, with further allusions to Soldier acting as the team's (totally unqualified) attorney, right down to Scout naming him and Soldier trying to get him the electric chair.
There's also one to "Meet The Spy": Scout mentions his mother will be upset when she finds out he spent all of their money, suggesting Spy gives Scout a ride for the love of her.
Clear Their Names: Miss Pauling comes in at the end and reveals that the crimes the mercs are being hanged for weren't actually crimes THEY committed. It's heavily implied that it's actually stuff the MAYOR did to Teufort. The gang ends up with a pardon at the end.
Cliffhanger: The epilogue reveals that Heavy may not be interested in coming back to the team.
Lady: "Well, that's very impressive for someone with arms as thin as yours, dear."
Lady: "They're like little bird wings!"
Scout: "Just open the door, lady."
Cool Car: There's a brief glimpse of Spy's fancy sportscar during one flashback.
Covers Always Lie: There's no big epic jailbreak. Rather, Demo and Soldier end up on the gallows too and Miss Pauling has to come in and stop the executions.
Crazy-Prepared: Spy has a number of fake teeth with tiny compartments in them. And he uses them to hold tiny Cornish game hens, candelabras, and bottles of wine, and a tiny razor for shaving. He also has a tiny butterfly knife hidden in the sleeve of his prison jumpsuit.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: The mayor knew any random police officers sent against one of the mercs would be killed pretty much instantly, so he instead took the opportunity to stick them in a trap they actually set up themselves.
Dead Artists Are Better: Scout's "life savings" is actually a bunch of Tom Jones memorabilia he's sure with be worth a fortune one Jones dies. Spy insists Jones is "virtually immortal", but Scout is satisfied with waiting—and of course Soldier killed the man himself a couple months later.
Dramatic Irony: The Scout invested his life's savings into Tom Jones memorabilia, which he insists will "be worth a fortune when he dies". Given that Tom Jones is at the very most 32 during the events of the comic, the Spy is not amused at having to miss his flight to pick up the Scout's savings. The reader, however, knows from the previous comic that the Soldier ends up killing the Welsh singer five and a half months later by snapping his neck.
Spy: He's not going to die, you imbecile! He's in his twenties! He's the most virile man on the planet! He has no enemies! The man is virtually immortal!
Enemy Mine: Saxton has to team up with his old nemesis, Charles Darling, to get Mann Co. back.
Faux Affably Evil: The mayor of Teufort is constantly smiling and chipper, despite some of his behavior rivaling the mercenaries themselves in depravity. His idea of "jail humor" to lift Spy and Scout's spirits is giving them a file... except their cell doesn't have bars, just six-inch thick plexiglass. He also makes a commemorative poster, with a little noose around a newspaper column about their arrest. And insisting they call him "Mike" instead of "Mister Mayor." Also, when Spy and Scout were in a bank vault collecting Scout's stuff, the police arrive to arrest them, but the mayor suggests they lock the two of them in instead, since Spy could probably easily kill them. By the way, that newspaper article claims Spy and Scout had to be "starved out" of hiding. Given that they were locked in the vault five and a half months ago, and are only just NOW being put on trial...
Oh, and we can't forget how the trial wasn't ACTUALLY for what RED did to Teufort; it was for stuff that the mayor did and just blamed on the mercs.
Foreshadowing: Spy says that the food he and Scout have been given while in jail has been laced with drugs, and he wants a clear head for the next day's events, hinting that he's got something up his sleeve. It's Double Subverted when his plan to escape during the trial is ruined, but it's later revealed that the town of Teufort has been drinking contaminated water for a generation.
Kangaroo Court: Turns out that Scout and Spy hadn't even been given a TRIAL before they were sentenced to death, and the trial they DO get was laughable at best.
Parodied six ways to Sunday. They actually are guilty of property damage and accidental manslaughter from all those stray bullets, but they're never charged for such.
Kick the Son of a Bitch: The city of Teufort treating the executions like a party. Given what the mercs have done to the city, it's hard to be too outraged at their preemptive celebration. Then it turns out the mercs are actually innocent of the crimes they're being hanged for.
The Millstone: Scout and Spy's public defender had a decent chance of actually getting them off by simply pointing out how they've not been subject to any sort of due process, which the judge didn't even contest—he wasn't even being facetious, he's just so stupid he genuinely didn't know those things. Then Soldier kills him and blows his and Demoman's cover because he couldn't stand Scout insulting him.
Mugging the Monster: Scout and Spy's cellmate Joey Murders tries to backstab Spy for no real reason. Guess which one actually ends up with a shiv in their back.
Noodle Incident: Scout and Spy once got a lamp as a public defender. And it was evidently better than Soldier.
Old Flame: Margaret/Maggie/Mags is this to Saxton Hale. She's been through four marriages and still seems to have feelings for him.
Only Sane Man: The public defender Spy and Scout get was actually a competent lawyer, who pointed out that his clients weren't getting a fair trial.
Refused the Call: In the epilogue it shows Heavy back in Siberia, presumably in hiding. When the woman he's visiting informs him that Ms. Pauling has been trying to contact him, the Heavy refuses to call her back and deliberately throws away the paper with her contact information.
Running Gag: Soldier attempts to act as a defense attorney once again, and fails terribly (again).
Scout: Beat it, Soldier! I got a real lawyer this time! Soldier: Oh yeah? Well, I'm calling a surprise witness! My hands! And they will prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your lawyer's neck is guilty! ...of being broken! [NECK SNAP!] Huttah!
Schedule Slip: Valve Time is in full effect and the comic came out over a month late. On an unrelated note, they've decided to make this arc a tri-monthly affair.
Unreliable Narrator: Oddly Subverted! You would think jumping from this panel to this panel would indicate that Saxton Hale's flashback was full of bunk, but no. Maggie confirms that said flashback was exactly how it went down.
The "Meet The Team" videos
TF2 started with nine mercenaries, each with his own distinct personality. Because they live inside a frantic multiplayer shooter, though, the only facets of those personalities people got to see were the screaming, shooting, and being-on-fire parts. Enter the Meet the Team shorts, showcasing the mercs in their off-hours—arguing with their parents, barking orders at their head collections, or just strumming a guitar by the campfire. Also we made a movie about a sandwich.
—The TF2 Team
A Day in the Limelight: Meet the Spy is the first video to focus on the BLU team (for the majority of its runtime, anyway), even if they are mostly talking about the RED Spy.
Bowdlerization: In the original version of Meet the Sniper, Sniper says that the guys who got a lot of feelings are the "blokes who bludgeon their wife to death with a golf trophy". In Spain, Domestic Abuse is a very spiky thing, so for the Spanish dubbed version this line was changed for a line that basically means "blokes that kill their neighbour with a pellet shotgun".
Butt Monkey: The BLU team is always horribly abused by the RED team in these videos. Also, the BLU Heavy is pretty much always the most obvious target. The RED Heavy, on the other hand, kills everything. This is a case of Gameplay and Story Segregation as well, as in the actual game, BLU is just as capable of winning.
In Meet the Spy, before the Spy kills the Sniper, you can see a crate marked "Razorback", as well as jars of shelved Jarate and the Huntsman. These didn't debut until after Meet the Spy was leaked, although Jarate made its debut after the video's official release.
The practice of Valve including teasers for yet-to-be released items dates back to "Meet the Sniper", which included a brief glimpse of the Pyro holding a new gun, which was later added to the game as the flare gun - briefly enough to be considered a Freeze-Frame Bonus.
Jarate also makes an appearance in the title card and the time lapse sequence of "Meet the Sniper".
The Mac update video features Engineer holding the Frontier Justice, a month before the Engineer Update.
Also from "Meet the Spy", the BLU Scout (actually the RED Spy) is seen holding the Sandman in the beginning of the video, foreshadowing that the Spy would soon be able to emulate the unlockable weapons of the player he is disguised as. The BLU Sniper can be seen wearing the Trophy Belt before the hat was released.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: In addition to all characters being portrayed as incredibly over-powered in the "Meet the Team" videos, there are several times when they directly contradict established in-game abilities.
Meet the Scout: The Scout completely does not let any hits reach him until he grapples with the Heavy, despite running straight into practically EVERYTHING. While each individual obstacle is feasible on its own, collectively it's nigh impossible on MANY levels (notably outrunning the Sentry Gun's bullets). And don't mention the Bonk! Atomic Punch, because that didn't debut until the following year.
Meet the Engineer: The Engineer has many sentries up; in-game, he can only build one at a time.
Meet the Demoman: At one point, the Demoman lays a trap with sixteen sticky bombs, as opposed to the eight he can use in-game (however, at one point in development, Demos actually could use sixteen stickies). He also tricks a Sentry into tracking his bombs instead of him (impossible in-game), and bounces a grenade behind him that explodes upon hitting a Pyro (grenades explode on enemy contact only if they haven't touched anything else.)
Meet the Sniper: one of the Sniper's shots kills a Heavy and continues on to injure the Demoman standing behind him. While true to life, shooting through multiple targets as a Sniper was not possible until the release of the Machina sniper rifle. (and before you ask, no, he's not using that rifle in the video)
Meet the Spy: littered with lots of egregious examples. Contradictions seen in this video include the RED Spy touching the briefcase while disguised as the BLU Scout (in a real CTF match, this would force the Spy to drop his disguise and pick up the briefcase) and the BLU Soldier shooting the BLU Spy (again, impossible, as friendly fire is not part of the vanilla game and, in fact, shooting teammates is an excellent way to check if they are spies). There's also him sliding a sapper under a sentry, which results in the sentry's immediate destruction, again not actually possible in-game.
Meet the Medic: this video shows the first use of the Medic's prototype medigun, the Quick-Fix, and how he uses it to Über the Heavy. However, the Quick-Fix in the game cannot actually Über (this was actually explained away: this specific Über was so powerful it burned out that function of the prototype). Secondly, although the ÜberCharged Heavy changes his appearance as Übered players do in-game, the Medic does not, despite also changing his appearance when Übered in-game (also justified; only Heavy has the Übercharge battery in his heart at this point). Finally, when struck by rockets, rather than exploding and causing knockback like in real play, they simply bounce off the Übered Heavy.
Meet the Pyro was probably even worse than any of the forementioned in this regard, as the title character torched and destroyed AN ENTIRE MAP.
Karma Houdini: The main star of each video will massacre the entire BLU team & walk off with out anything resembling repercussions (mostly because they either hide in some place where they'd be impossible to kill or go on a rampage before the BLU team can even get ready to retaliate).
Starting from "Meet the Sandvich", the videos have broken away from their original interview-and-gameplay-footage structure, and the subsequent entries have actually had their own individual plots.
The Worf Effect: The BLU Heavy has been seen getting headshotted, backstabbed, destroyed by a missile (twice), knocked out for a Sandvich, exploded by stickies, killed by a level 1 sentry, and an axe to the head.
Also the BLU Soldier, who has been killed by the same group of sentries as the Heavy, gibbed by the same stickies as the Heavy, headshotted by the same Sniper as the Heavy, backstabbed by the same Spy as the Heavy, hit by a train, by being on the receiving end of the RED Heavy's ÜberCharge, and gaining a hole in his abdomen. Oh, and the Sandvich broke his spine.
The BLU Spy as well, being shoveled by the Soldier, detonated by the Demoman's stickies, backstabbed by the Sniper, headshotted by his own comrades, and being preserved as a head in a refrigerator by the Medic.
Let's just say that in general, RED pulls this off on BLU.
The in-game achievement for firing $100,000 worth of bullets in a single life uses the $200/cartridge figure and equates 1 cartridge with 1 ammo (the minigun reduces the ammo count by 1 ten times a second, and fires 4 shots 10 times a second). By this math, it would actually cost $24,000 to fire for 12 seconds. Forcing convoluted stats like this upon the world is probably why the Heavy is seen laughing uproariously in the next shot.
Soldier: "Then he [Sun Tzu] used his fight money to buy two of every animal on Earth, and then he herded them onto a boat, and then he beat the crap out of every single one!"
Memetic Badass: The Soldier seems set to make Sun Tzu as one, who, according to him: invented fighting, was a prizefighter, used his fight money to put two of every animal on a boat like Noah, "and then he beat the crap out of every single one!" invoked
Badass Boast: "SO...t'all ya fine dandies, so proud, so cocksure, prancin' a-boot with yer heads full of eyeballs! Come and get me, I say! I'll be waitin' on ya, with a whiff of the ol' brimstone! I'm a grim bloody fable...with an unhappy, bloody end!"
Cutscene Power to the Max: The Demoman kills opponents with near-impossible ricocheted grenades, uses grenades to draw the fire of an engineer's sentry, and sets a trap with about a dozen stickybombs (his normal maximum is eight.)
All of this was possible when the video was released (still months before the game actually came out), but subsequent updates have brought this trope into play retroactively. There's a disclaimer about this at the end of the video:
Disclaimer: All information regarding Demoman grenade behavior was obtained from Australians believed to be reliable at the time. It is submitted subject to the possibility of errors, omissions, or nerfing without notice.
No OSHA Compliance: With equal parts Reckless Bomb Usage. A lit cigarette can be seen sitting on a crate of grenades on the left side of his desk. He drunkenly knocks a loose grenade off his desk which lites up and makes a "live" beep noise as it falls to the floor. And of course chugging down a bottle of whiskey as he's working on his explosives.
Amusingly he's doing all of this while describing to the viewers just how much precision it takes for him to do his job, and the horrible consequences otherwise.
Oh Crap: The BLU team's reaction to the sticky trap.
Sequel Escalation: The fourth: an interview with a seated, drinking Demoman in three parts, punctuated by highlighted examples of Demoman weapon use.
Sound Effect Bleep: "They got more f[3-second-long bleep] than they've got the likes of me."
This is used in one of the blog's contests asking people to send in what they think was bleeped out. At the end of the contest, the winner of the "most accurate to the original script" category was something roughly like "They've got more fuckin' monsters in the Loch Ness than they got the likes of me."
Censored for Comedy: The censored line isn't really that vulgar: "They've got more fecking sea monsters in the great Lochett Ness than they got the likes of me."
Sequel Escalation: The fifth: an interview, after a long introduction with complicated camera movement, rapidly cutting back and forth between the scout's free-roaming grandstanding and his action-packed direct struggle with the Heavy.
Absurdly Sharp Blade: The Sniper's Kukri manages to stab a Spy from the back completely through his body. You must wonder how it gets through all of the bones and organs in the way, or how he's stabbing so effectively with an inward-curved blade.
Most of the video takes place in custom-built environments, but the shot of the Sniper "being polite" to the dead Spy takes place on one the decks by the final point of Gold Rush. One of the few locations that really do require a freeze frame to identify.
One-Hit Polykill: A shot from the Sniper goes through the Heavy's head and into the Demoman's bottle he was drinking from behind him. The Demoman doesn't directly die from that, but he does soon enough.
Sequel Escalation: The sixth: a journey across multiple specially-constructed set pieces with a licensed theme song for background music.
Leaked Video (originally read "Lost Memory," but was changed due to this video being leaked. The difference between the two versions can also be noted by the voice on the alam saying "Intruder Alert" twice in the leaked version, but only once in the official version.)
The RED Spy touches the intelligence briefcase (without taking it) without losing his disguise. Although this could be justified by the fact that he didn't actually pick up the briefcase.
There's also the scene where he disguises as the Medic, which works entirely differently from how it does in game. In particular, the fact that he incapacitates him with a single karate chop, which probably wouldn't work even if it was possible in this game.
He also wasn't wearing the Medic's glasses, despite having duplicated the rest of his wardrobe.
The BLU intel room has a locked door with a keypad—all in-game doors open automatically or when an objective is completed. The room's interior is also slightly modified, as is every other part of the base shown.
The Soldier pops a friendly Spy's head with a single shotgun blast. While friendly fire with reduced damage is possible in-game with the server-side variable set, the shotgun doesn't do special damage for headshots and can never kill in 1 hit, and even if it could, heads don't gib that way in the game.
The shotgun in question also sounds like the Spy's revolver when the Soldier fires it.
Fake Shemp: The Engineer, the Sniper and the Medic use sound clips lifted straight from their in-game dialogue lines rather than new voice-acted scripts.
Same goes for the Scout during the first twenty seconds or so.
Foreshadowing: The Spy's true identity is subtly hinted at — the BLU Scout doesn't know the doorcode, when the BLU Spy walks in with the Sniper's corpse over his shoulder, the Scout checks to see if the knife is still in its back, and at 2:42, he makes sure no one is going to see what he's about to do.
Also, the Alarm-O-Tron 5000 board gives a hint about who the RED Spy is disguised as. Three consecutive alerts read "BLU Scout', "Has Evil Twin", and "RED Spy".
Freeze-Frame Bonus: Takes place on a heavily modified but still plainly recognizable 2Fort.
Mook Horror Show/Perspective Flip: Told from the perspective of the BLU team, as the BLU Spy warns the others about how dangerous the RED Spy is, who is shown dispatching several BLU members.
It's fairly ingenious as the other videos (except "Meet the Sandvich") have the RED members talk about themselves, which would be out of character for a Spy; telling it from the other perspective maintains the mysterious nature of the RED Spy.
Neck Snap: The RED Spy kills the BLU Medic with a karate chop to the neck.
The Password Is Always 1111: Made even funnier by the fact that although the "1" button on the BLU intel room keypad is dirty and worn out, implying that it has been used very often, the Soldier enters the first three digits, then has to stop and think to remember the last one and then grins when the door opens, like he's proud of himself for getting the code right.
Obfuscating Stupidity: As is per character, the Red Spy does a good job feigning ignorance as the Scout. He even handles the knife very sloppily (like anyone) when in reality he is very dextrous.
Pistol-Whipping: The BLU Sniper hears the RED Spy and tries to jab him with the butt of his rifle. It doesn't work.
Scars Are Forever: The Sniper has had a scar across his face in-game ever since the Spy cut him in this video.
Sequel Escalation: The eighth: a tale of intrigue with direct character interaction cutting back and forth between the Spy's action-packed narrative and the exploits and nuanced interactions of the characters in the intel room. Plus, an all-"new" character model for the Scout's mom.
Unsafe Haven: The intel is behind a locked door, but the password is 1111, which is obvious from the "1" being the only button that's seen use, and the Heavy was able to shoulder-barge the door, destroying it.
Wrong Genre Savvy: When the Soldier kills the BLU Spy, expecting him to have been the villain all along, only to discover he was actually disguised as the Scout.
Your Mom: Done oh so very right by the BLU Spy by actually backing it up with his dossier on the Scout's mom, showing photos of her sleeping with the RED Spy. Most likely the best use of the line ever.
Scout: What are you, president of his fan club? Spy: No... that would be your mother!
Atop a Mountain of Corpses: The final shot before The Stinger is of the Heavy and the Medic standing atop a pile of dead BLU Soldiers, all of them felled by the Heavy during the test of the ÜberCharge.
RED Scout: (knocked down by a blast, he sees another volley of rockets flying at him) Whoa, who the fu—*KABOOM*AAAAAAAAHHHHH— *crash* ...Medic.
Cutscene Incompetence: The Medic's ÜberCharge in the video does not make him invincible as well. Justified in that he most likely hasn't given himself a heart implant yet. On the other side of the battlefield, none of the Soldiers are firing at said vulnerable Medic.
Cutscene Power to the Max: Mostly averted, but the Medic is keeping a severed head alive indefinitely, and a RED Demoman is on the battlefield in a wheelchair. The Medigun also seems to have a low setting, as he's keeping the Heavy alive, conscious, and mostly out of pain without his heart and with his chest cut open, but without healing him.
The Soldiers' rockets also curve in mid-air to hit the Scout during the opening sequence.
The Heavy's ÜberCharge also seems to be making him immune to the rockets' knockback—in fact, the rockets don't even detonate, they just bounce off him as if they were airblasted. This actually makes sense when one notes that the Medic is using the Quick-Fix instead of the vanilla Medigun. The Quick-Fix's ÜberCharge does, in fact, render the patient immune to knockback. It doesn't make the patient invulnerable, but the description of the Quick-Fix notes that this is because the invulnerability function of the Quick-Fix shorted out after that first test, forcing the Medic to focus on one benefit or the other.
Dark Reprise: The first part of the soundtrack, which plays when the RED Scout is fleeing from a barrage of rockets, is a slowed down version of "Faster than a Speeding Bullet".
Development Hell: This short took a long time to make, due to both the many changes the script went through and a long period during which the Medic's voice actor was unavailable.
Dissonant Serenity: While the Medic's anecdote about losing his medical license (see below) is a little bit disturbing, it's still kind of jarring to hear him and Heavy laughing and chatting casually while a battle rages outside and the Medic is currently performing surgery on the Heavy while the latter is awake.
Disturbed Doves: The Medic has a fair flock of doves, apparently as pets. When he leaves his operating room and takes the field with the Heavy, a bunch of them fly out of the garage to mark his entrance. They also fly by when he and the Heavy are standing atop a pile of Soldiers.
Evil Laugh: The Medic. Hoo boy, the Medic. He's enjoying himself when he really shouldn't be.
Freeze-Frame Bonus: It's hard to tell what map this takes place in, but according to Valve, it's a modified version of Badwater Basin.
It takes a bit of time to see that the entire contents of the refrigerator are a Sandvich, three hearts ("Mega Baboon", "Loch Ness Hamster", and one label too small to read), three bottles of Red Shed beer, the BLU Spy's head, a battery for the head, and an ashtray. From the placement of the Spy's head, it's implied that Meet the Sandvich was done in the same fridge from his point of view, but the Sandvich is on the wrong shelf.
Miss Pauling is watching the med-bay through an observation window. She has a clipboard in one hand.
Funny Background Event: In the final scene, all of RED team is sitting in the Medic's waiting room, waiting for their own ÜberCharge implants. The Pyro is reading a magazine (with "The Insult That Made a 'Jarate Master' Out of Sniper" on the back cover) while playing with a lighter, the Sniper is sleeping, the Demoman is drinking, the Spy is looking at his ticket, the Engineer is playing the song that accompanied the Medic during the surgery scene on his guitar, and the Soldier is standing at attention, eschewing the chairs.
During the start of the last battle scene, you can also see the Pyro near the cliff, running away from the mass of Soldiers in the funny 'humiliation' run cycle.
Check out the background at the start of the surgery scene. The x-rays in the light box show the Heavy has had a bomb lodged inside him. The extracted bomb is in the bucket underneath the x-rays. The Medic's Overdose can be seen by the bucket.
When the Heavy's heart explodes, the monitor in the background flatlines. When the Medic gets a new heart out, the monitor resumes its earlier display.
Gameplay and Story Integration: The Medic is using his Quick-Fix medigun to keep the Heavy alive and conscious during the operation despite a missing heart and generally futzed-with innards, and then uses it to put his chest cavity back together (and presumably attach the new heart to his arteries).
Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Since it's his class video, the Medic gets played for this even moreso than usual in the course of regular gameplay, but he definitely buries the needle deep into the 'sociopath' side.
Lock and Load Montage: More like a 'get dressed to kill' montage with the Medic putting on his gloves, labcoat, and backpack.
Mad Doctor: It has never been clearer. ÜberCharges are apparently the result of the Medic slapping some sort of insane device on a large, strong heart and replacing it in the subject's chest before using the Medigun on him. He ends up blowing up the Heavy's original heart (passing it off as "progress") and outfitting him with a "Mega-Baboon" heart. Not to mention the severed Spy head, and his anecdote about removing some poor schmuck's skeleton during an operation.
Magically Regenerating Clothing: The medigun, when turned up to full power, not only allows the Heavy to quickly recover from 'surgery', but also repairs the bullet holes and massive rip in his jacket.
Meatgrinder Surgery: Heavy's surgery, to an extent. For one thing, it involves Medic forcefully shoving the new heart into Heavy's chest cavity when it doesn't quite fit... only to actually break off one of Heavy's ribs.
Medic: Oh, don't be such a baby, ribs grow back! (aside, to his doves) No, they don't.
Not forgetting the fact that Heavy's original heart was IN THE MEDIC'S HANDS for well over a minute, then BLEW UP, then was replaced by a new one... from a "Mega-Baboon".
And Heavy was awake the whole time. Medic doesn't seem to see any problem with this; presumably he likes chatting with his patients.
Heavy: Should I be awake for this?
Medic: Well, no. But as long as you are, could you hold your rib cage open a bit?
Noodle Incident: How the Medic lost his medical license. A visual example is the Heavy's X-ray, which reveals he somehow got a nuclear warhead (radioactive symbol is there) lodged in his chest cavity somehow without it exploding.
Only a Flesh Wound: Heavy goes through open heart surgery (if you could call it "surgery"), only to have his entire chest cavity healed over in seconds by the Medigun.
Russian Humor: The Medic's anecdote at the beginning seems right up Heavy's alley, considering his love of bloody anecdotes. They laugh together at this hilarious story. Then Medic reveals it wasn't a joke, but a true story about himself, and Heavy stops laughing abruptly, looking worried.
Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The RED Pyro, apparently unharmed (unlike the RED Scout and Demoman, who are clearly injured), is seen humorously running away from the mass of oncoming BLU Soldiers, where the RED Engineer and Sniper are seen trying to hold a defensive position. Probably justified, though—no Medic or Ubercharge (yet), and that's an uncomfortably large number of Soldiers.
Sequel Escalation: The ninth: A partly creepy, partly comedic, entirely awesomeOrigin Story for the game's ÜberCharge mechanic. It's also the first to show more than one of a single class on one team in the same shot (a Soldier class rush).
Medic:[to the Heavy] Oh, don't be such a baby. Ribs grow back! [to his doves] No, zey don't!
Übermensch: In a bit of a Genius Bonus (cryptically answered, in the usual way, by Valve), Medic draws a lot of parallels to Zarathustra in the video. Both mention doves and aim to transcend humanity, but in the original version of the video, he states he doesn't want to be a God, but instead, create them.
Medic: I could do in seconds what would take other doctors months! I could take men to the peak of health — and beyond! I could make gods!
Ambiguous Gender: In the closed captions, the Scout says, "He's not here, is she?", sticking with Valve's running joke about not revealing the Pyro's gender. Sadly Scout's voice actor Nathan Vetterlein didn't go through with it.
An Axe to Grind: The Pyro has multiple axes with it. The Pyro kills the BLU Heavy with a fire axe and traps the BLU Medic in a shed with it before torching the Medic. In the stinger, there's the partially charred Heavy with the axe in his head and the Sniper's arm with the Axtinguisher in it.
Call Back: There's another severed Sniper arm among the debris and fire at the end of the video, just like what happened in Meet the Engineer.
Camera Abuse: The RED Scout knocks over the camera in a panicked attempt to escape his interview. Later, blood gets on the camera when the Pyro attacks the Heavy with his axe.
Cloudcuckoolander: Turns out that the Pyro is just as Affably Insane as the rest of the cast.
Continuity Nod: Perhaps an accident, but taking in mind what the Pyro sees it's quite appropriate the (RED) Scout is especially afraid of the Pyro given rainbows make him cry (at least according to the Spy).
Cruel and Unusual Death: All of the BLU team. We know how the Medic met his end, and the final scene shows the charred, skeletal remains of the Engineer and Scout, part of the Heavy with an axe in his head, Demoman's corpse (although it's kind of hard to see) and the Soldier with the hole in his chest. The Sniper's arm is shown chopped off by the Axtinguisher, and he was torched earlier.
Cutscene Power to the Max: The RED Pyro causes a lot of environmental damage, and it uses the fire axe to bar a set of double doors, locking the BLU Medic on the other side before torching the whole building.
Death Is Dramatic: The BLU Sniper jumps out or is blasted out of a second story window, crawls and grabs onto the Pyro's foot while calling for help, and is incinerated.
Defictionalization: The Balloonicorn that the BLU Engineer and BLU Spy ride in Pyrovision is offered in the real life Valve store.
And, to everyone's surprise, the Pyro's fantasy world itself has been incorporated into the game in the form of "pyrovision", which reskins most of the official maps into a very rough but painstakingly implemented imitation for anyone who has a pyroland-related item equipped.
Description Cut: The RED Spy muses about what his psychotic teammate could be thinking...
Spy: One shudders to imagine what inhuman thoughts lie behind that mask. What dreams of chronic and sustained cruelty? [cut to the Pyro's point-of-view: a fantasy landscape of colorful hills and the BLU team as cooing winged cherubs]
Dissonant Serenity: The Pyro imagines itself giving lollipops, bubbles, and happiness to its enemies. At the end, we see the Pyro to be walking and swaying happily in its dreamland. Zoom out through the Soldier's torso, and we see the Pyro is actually walking away with his flamethrower.
Early-Bird Cameo: Before making an appearance in the video, the Pyro's Scorch Shot was featured in a blog post a few days earlier, as an example of how a weapon is made.
Implacable Man: The BLU team members spend most of the film hiding or fleeing, but the Pyro doesn't leave the town until everyone is dead.
Kill It with Fire: Pretty much the entire BLU team (excepting their Pyro), but the BLU Engineer, Sniper, Medic, Scout, and presumably the Demoman are killed this way specifically on-screen (Demo can even be heard yelling "I'm burning!").
Knockback: The BLU Scout gets some courtesy of the Pyro's Scorch Shot.
Man on Fire: Expected of Meet the Pyro. The BLU Sniper and Demoman are shown to have been set alight, and neither survive.
Menacing Stroll: How the Pyro is moving around in reality - it's skipping happily in Pyroland.
Mood Whiplash: One minute, everyone is running in fear from the Pyro and his insane amounts of fire. Cut to its view, and everything turns into a Sugar Bowl environment. The rest of the video alternates between these two moods constantly.
Although, ingame, that's also called "Arena mode".
No Man of Woman Born: Not a prophecy, but the RED Heavy boasts that he is afraid of no man. He believes the Pyro isn't human, calling him a "thing".
No Range Like Point-Blank Range: The Pyro hits a BLU Scout with such a shot from the Scorch Shot. This is the Scorch Shot's kill-taunt, only effective at point-blank.
Not-So-Innocent Whistle: In the last shot, we can hear the Pyro whistling to the tune of "Do You Believe In Magic" (the music that's playing in its head), while strolling away from the carnage.
One-Man Army: No one fights alongside the Pyro, and it alone kills everyone on the BLU team, and the short ends with the Pyro leaving the place a burning wreck - appropriate since many strategies for playing as the Pyro involve working alone.
One-Man Band: In the Pyro's vision, it's wearing a bunch of bongos in place of grenades and has a toy orchestra on his back. Its flamethrower appears as a whimsical set of horns.
From the Pyro's perspective, the entire team really is babies.
Pyro is known for never taking off its gas mask. Of course it sees everything through a filter.
The Pyro traps the Medic in a box. It just made a health kit.
The Stinger: Done in a similar way to the last video. The first stinger is a scene with the Pyro in its dreamland, walking away from the camera. After the scene fades out, there is an announcement about the release of Source Filmmaker, the tool used by Valve to create the "Meet the Team" videos.
Super Window Jump: The BLU Sniper leaves a burning building via a second story window.
Surprise Creepy: The entire video is really surprisingly disturbing - the Pyro's remorseless and brutal rampage is easily the most gruesome and frightening sequence in the entire history of the game and witnessing it Through the Eyes of Madness somehow makes it worse. The Heavy's corpse, partially charred and with an ax stuck in his head, as well as the charred Engineer and Scout skeletons visible at the end of the video are surprisingly grim.
Torso with a View: The BLU Soldier. The Pyro walks away while the view zooms out of Pyrovision and into reality, passing through the hole in the Soldier.
The Dreaded: The Pyro. Forget the enemy team, its own team is afraid of it.
The Unreveal: The fans were hoping that this video would answer some questions about the Pyro. Not only did it answer none of them (unless you count "how crazy is the Pyro?" of which the answer is a resounding very), it raised even more.