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Playing Mass Effect 2...with Morinth
She never gives a satisfactory explanation (at least not in this game) why she doesn't look for other options.

Sure she does. She's a Justicar. And her complicated Justicar code requires her and her fellow Justicars to behave in this fashion. If they see injustice, it must be stopped in accord with the code.

And the code says to kill the injust.

Now, you may not like it; it might not sit well with you. And I perfectly understand that. But that's why we call them aliens; because they're not human and don't think like humans do.

Even if Morinth is utterly and absolutely irredeemable and beyond saving,

I remind you that she pulled a woman into an abusive relationship, cut her off from the rest of her life, and seduced her to the point where she was willing to run off with her. And all of that was the foreplay for the main course: the whole Mind Rape thing, where she burns out the woman's brain. For no reason other than that it turns her on.

If that's not the cold soul of evil, I don't know what is.
And that got me wondering if maybe some of Morinth's victims knew what they were getting into and just thoughtólike Shepard can, if you Press X To Dieó"Screw it, if I want to throw my life away that's my business, and sex with her will be worth it."

Or perhaps Samara was... telling the truth! After all, Shepard knows her secret at that point. So the only way she'll get to ride Shepard's nervous system is if she convinced him/her that he/she might actually survive it.

That's far more likely than assuming that a sociopath would bother giving her victims a choice like that if it were at all possible to avoid it.

Why can't I incapacitate Morinth and then talk Samara out of it? I mean for fuck's sake, if I got the option of sparing fucking RONALD TAYLOR's life and having him stand trial, why can I not do the same with Morinth?

Samara has dedicated the Human equivalent of forty years of her life to killing Morinth. She gave up her entire life and livelihood, trained up in being a Justicar, and set out on a single-minded quest to find and end the life of her daughter.

Do you honestly think that she would allow some human to stop her when her quarry is right there and incapacitated?

Shepard doesn't have the option because Samara will not be talked down. The only thing that's going to stop her is applying sufficient physical force to incapacitate her. And considering her fighting prowess, that's going to mean lethal force.

Ronald Taylor was an unarmed man. Samara is a highly-trained killer armed with high-grade Asari-style Biotics who is dedicated to a code that requires her to use maximum force against even the smallest evil.
It rings true, because Samara has been cold to everybody in this game.

What follows is my own pet theory; I haven't played ME3 yet, so I have no idea if this is canon or not.

I always pegged Samara as an Ardat-Yakshi.

Samara always talks about the condition as being binary: you either have it and therefore must segregate yourself from everyone (or be killed), or you don't and are fine. But I consider this to be due to her strict Justicar code. The Codex entry on the condition always talks about it as a sliding scale. Only those on the high end like Morinth have full-on murder-sex, though having sex with any AY will generally be somewhat painful afterwards.

And Samara's apparent lessons to Morinth seem to bear this out. Samara wanted to teach her daughter to control the urges and impulses, just as she learned how to do.

Also, I think this explains why Samara felt compelled to become a Justicar to stop Morinth. She felt responsible for Morinth, but you don't need to be a Justicar to go after someone. She choose that vocation because she didn't trust herself. After all, AYs are self-centered to varying degrees, so she probably fears how such a quest might change her. He Who Fights Monsters and all that.

So she forces herself to live by the Justicar code so that she will at all times be acting "correctly" by some external metric. That way, she doesn't have to worry about making the right choices. As long as she follows the code and hunts Morinth, she's doing the right thing.

I'm curious how she was able to do that without even arousing suspicion from EDI

Probably the same way Mordin did. He mentioned at one point that he swept his room for surveillance devices.

For one thing, how do you know? What Samara said about brain hemmorhages and such did not sound very fun.

Funny fact about (human) brains. Despite being a gigantic mass of neurons, most of the brain can't feel pain. Evolutionarily speaking, this makes sense, as there's no real advantage to that. After all, if something is digging into your brain, you're already pretty much fucked.

So it's possible that a brain hemorrhage might not interfere with the experience of ultimate ecstasy. Or you might just not be able to notice.

As for how Morinth might know, she's a telepath. Whatever ecstasy Nef or any of her other partners were feeling, she's riding it along with them.
Korval (edited by: Korval)
Trials are good things. Pay attention, Morinth, so you can see how the quarians deal with criminals. You'd have had one of these if you were a quarian. This is the non-fucked-up, non-asari way of dealing with dangerous (either potentially dangerous or definitely dangerous) people. But you had the misfortune to be born into a society that thinks letting a bunch of idiots run around unilaterally deciding who should live and who should die is working out just fine, thankyouverymuch.

I'm sorry, what? The complete mockery of justice that is Tali'Zorah's "trial" is somehow better than the Justicar code?

Samara's code may be harsh, it may involve quick, violent solutions to people doing bad things. But at least it requires that people are doing bad things. Even if "bad things" can mean little more than "not allowing the Justicar to go where she needs to go", Justicars are still bound by the code not to just go on random murder sprees. The party to be killed must be doing something wrong, by an objective definition.

It may not be the modern, Western concept of justice. But it is at least fair.

Tali is completely innocent of what she's charged with (though having an investigation or trial is reasonable, given that there is evidence against her). The entire trial is little more than a proxy for the debate on how to deal with the Geth and the future of the Quarian civilization. Zaal'Koris is pushing for the trial because it hurts Tali and Han'Gerrel's political position, not because he believes it to be true.

I'll take neck-snapping Justicars over politically-motivated show-trials any day of the week. At least the neck-snapping Justicars are honest about what they are.

Just because it's called a "trial" doesn't mean it's just or fair.

Talióand indeed, the majority of quariansócome across as entitled. They think that only they matter, that only their desires and needs matter, and that if they have to sacrifice the geth to get what they want? So be it. Who cares what the geth want, right? The geth don't matter because they aren't quarians.

Um, I would like to point out some facts:

  • "The Quarians" who tried to genocide the Geth? That wasn't the entire Quarian race. They didn't all make that decision. How do you know that there wasn't a debate, a close vote, or just military units unilaterally taking action that they felt should minimize the possible damage of a Geth revolt? A hell of a lot of innocent Quarians, who had nothing to do with the decision to purge the Geth, were also murdered by the Geth. So don't act like every Quarian who evacuated their homeworld deserved what they got.

  • "The Quarians" who tried to genocide the Geth? Yeah, they're all dead now. That was generations ago. They're all being punished for the actions of people long dead. They have every right to be pissed off about that.

  • Many of "The Quarians" would be more or less happy if the Geth just upped and left the homeworld. Not Daro'Xen of course, but many others. For a lot of them, it's not about the Geth; the Geth are just a huge obstacle they must overcome to reclaim the homeworld. The goal is the homeworld. A homeworld the Geth have no more right to than the Quarians (and by some measures quite a bit less, since the Quarians evolved there).

  • The Quarians, thanks to an immune system that makes less sense every time Bio Ware describes it in greater detail, can't really settle anywhere else. At least, not without still wearing those suits, which doesn't really offer much reason to bother settling somewhere.

This isn't about "entitlement"; it's about the question of what is a living being. Daro'Xen is pretty clear on thinking of the Geth as simply buggy programs that have run amok and need to be taken back under control.
Korval (edited by: Korval)
Oh yeah, and I went to see Morinth, and all of her conversation options are the same. Damn it, Bio Ware, you are frustrating me.

That's not really a surprise. Think of it from a practical perspective.

They added a character by... not adding a character at all. Morinth is very economical. She doesn't have much dialog. She doesn't even have a new character model or animations. Most of her dialog is just Samara's dialog, even read with the same voice thanks to her perfect imitation.

In short, Bio Ware set out to do this while explicitly spending as little money on it as possible. So obviously there weren't going to be reams of dialog for Morinth.

Plus, people don't talk to you much after you complete their loyalty mission. You only get one post-mission conversation out of most of them, unless you're romancing them.
My paragon Shepard still took the Renegade option here; aside from moral issues I didn't trust even a modified Reaper virus not to backfire on me in the third game.
Yeah, sometimes you just gotta do the Renegade thing. I haven't acted like a complete Paragon while playing the third game.
Samara would kill them when it wasn't necessary. Nihlus, according to Samara, killed somebody when it wasn't necessary. I do not see any difference, and feel she's a hypocrite for saying that there is a difference between what she's done and what Nihlus did that one time.

There is a difference. Samara would kill them because they were holding her against her will. They impedes her progress and allows bad people to potentially escape justice. And that, the Justicar code does not allow. Therefore, the Justicar must behave like any other violation of the code: kill the violators.

And remember: Samara would warn them first. I rather doubt that Nihlus's prey got a similar warning.

You can consider that an insufficient justification. But it is a reason, and it's a reason that everyone knows going in: you don't hold Justicars against their will. Not without consequences.

I would like to think that, as long as the Ardat-Yakshi's memories and beliefs and opinions on things were left untouched, as long as it was just their sex drive that was affected, that it would be better than killing them outright.

And why would clamping down on their sex drive be sufficient? AY is about a lot more than just murder-sex. AYs are sociopaths; the wants, needs, and rights of others simply do not exist for them. Everyone around them is an object to be used. Whether they're used for murder-sex or as pawns for self-aggrandizement, they're still just being used.

Sure, Fel might have lived. But only as the victim of a horrific long-term abusive relationship until Morinth discarded her. And indeed, Morinth probably would have killed her anyway, just to keep her from becoming a liability once Morinth tired of her.

Also, the number of Asari born with sufficient AY tendencies to enforce the "isolation or death" decision is pretty low. Remember: in Samara's lifetime, there were only 3. And those were all her daughters. So developing a cure that only cures the harshest 0.000000001 percent of a disease would be difficult to do, if for no other reason than the lack of suitable candidates to investigate and test treatments on.
Korval (edited by: Korval)
You seem to have a misunderstanding of the whole "Complete Monster" thing.

A "Complete Monster" can have a personality. A "Complete Monster" can want things and sometimes even do things for others. A "Complete Monster" can even be kinda tragic in some way.

A "Complete Monster" is simply what you get when you cross the Moral Event Horizon: when a character does something so terrible that you can no longer feel any sympathy for them. And Morinth did that for me the moment I watched Fel's vlogs and saw how Morinth slowly pulled her into her orbit and crushed her life like a black hole. All done solely for her own pleasure.

What Morinth does is monstrous. You can play games about what she might have been if her AY wasn't as bad or if Samara had been a better mother or that it's really her AY that's forcing her to do it or that maybe if you said the right things in the right order, she might try to stop some day. What matters is that she's willingly doing these horrible things, and she never exhibits the slightest hint of remorse. No, her desire to experience real love does not count as remorse for her actions.

This is not the tale of a tortured vampire who does evil things because it is their nature, yet ultimately desires to be good. This is the tale of a vampire who reviles in her evil ways, who enjoys slowly reeling in her prey, the naked exertion of power and control over another in the most intimate way. As she said, she enjoys letting her opponents think that they have the upper hand, then reversing it at a critical moment before making the kill.

My point is this: none of the small positive elements she may exhibit can make up for the fact that she does cruel things to people solely for her own pleasure. That she uses and abuses people as a matter not just of course, but as a way to turn herself on.

So yes, she's still a Complete Monster. Nothing she says or does makes up for that. Just because she exhibits self-control around someone who can resist her doesn't mean that she's not the cold soul of evil.

Maybe Shepard could have helped her stop being a threat to innocent people if the two of them had remained in one another's lives, as teammates, the way Shepard did with Jack.

Could she have been steered off the path she was on, if people like my Shepard had tried to help her instead of just trying to kill her? If they'd seen her as a person instead of as a disease that needed to be purged and nothing more?

No. The fundamental foundation of her problem is that she is constitutionally incapable of seeing a person as anything other than a resource to be consumed. For her, people are a collection of assets and liabilities.

There's no "helping" Morinth that wouldn't involve rewriting her brain to make her not an AY anymore. And she's made it perfectly clear that she would prefer death to that.

The difference between Morinth and Jack is best illustrated in the Firefly film Serenity:

Hell, I'll kill a man in a fair fight... or if I think he's gonna start a fair fight, or if he bothers me, or if there's a woman, or if I'm gettin' paid - mostly only when I'm gettin' paid. But these Reavers... last ten years they show up like the bogeyman from stories. Eating people alive? Where's that get fun?

Jack is Jayne here. Morinth is the Reavers. Jack kills people for logical reasons, even if those reasons can seem capricious to a more balanced psyche. The same goes for Samara.

Morinth does it for kicks.

And if Morinth were as bad as her detractors believe, she wouldn't have given Shepard a choice, not when she clearly wanted to be with Shepard so badly. She would have just tried to take what she wanted.

Alternatively, she has enough of a self-preservation instinct to realize the first rule of survival in the Mass Effect universe:

  • Do not fuck with Shepard!

That's why Aria was as nice and helpful to Shepard as she was. And that's why Aria's still alive at the end of ME2.

Trying to rape Shepard would almost certainly be the last thing she would ever do. Morinth may be evil and crazy, but she's not stupid.
Korval (edited by: Korval)
I'm not really eager to respond to everything since I just found it and there's a lot of it and I'd rather do other stuff right now, but you seem to be contradicting something you said earlier, and I do want to respond to that.

Earlier, you said that Shepard was not capable of stopping Samara from killing Morinth, because Samara was too powerful for Shepard.

Here, you're saying that Morinth could never force herself on Shepard, because Shepard is too strong.

Which is it? Is Shepard helpless against a powerful biotic like that, or can Shepard kick that biotic's ass?
Earlier, you said that Shepard was not capable of stopping Samara from killing Morinth, because Samara was too powerful for Shepard.

No I did not. Perhaps a refresher in what I actually said is in order:

Do you honestly think that [Samara] would allow some human to stop her when her quarry is right there and incapacitated?

Shepard doesn't have the option because Samara will not be talked down. The only thing that's going to stop her is applying sufficient physical force to incapacitate her. And considering her fighting prowess, that's going to mean lethal force.

I never said that Shepard couldn't kill Samara. I said that Shepard couldn't stop Samara without killing her.

You asked, "Why can't I incapacitate Morinth and then talk Samara out of it?" And that's why. Samara is going to kill Morinth, and the only thing that's going to stop this is killing Samara first. You might be able to knock her out, but that's only temporary. Once she wakes up, she'll go right back on her "kill Morinth" quest.