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Live Blog Playing Mass Effect 2...with Morinth
KilgoreTrout2013-06-24 10:37:11

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Waiting to go to Omega

This isn't going to be a full account of my playthrough of the game. I've already gone through it once as a mostly-Paragon Shepard, so I'm seeing a lot of stuff for the second time. The time to post about my initial reactions to things I didn't know were coming would have been then.

One thing I have not seen in its entirety, though, is how taking Morinth into your party makes things different. Different conversations, obviously, different dialogue on some missions, one different power...I get that as far as gameplay goes, she is mostly a Samara clone.

I'll mostly be focused on the story here. I'll be making a new post whenever Morinth does or says something noteworthy and I'll write down by reactions and thoughts about it.

But for now, let's talk about her mother. What did I think of Samara? Where to begin?

Okay, if you played ME1 then you may remember that a number of NPCs in that game had a negative view of Spectres. This was because Spectres could do whatever the fuck they wanted, they were above the law. The only way a Spectre could ever answer for what s/he did would be if the Council decided to rein them in, and the Council apparently did not do so very often.

Justicars are basically like that, only they seemingly have nobody to rein them in, not even an equivalent of the Council. There is a lot I don't know and perhaps I will learn that there is more accoutability than I think when I get to the third game. But my impression of justicars are that they are loose cannons who believe in summarily executing criminals. Their code, what I know of it, demands that they run around acting like Frank Castle. And I frickin' hate The Punisher.

The first time I saw Samara, she killed a helpless victim. That's damn cold. I'm not going to argue that Samara causes more suffering than her daughter does, because I'm sure that is not the case. But Samara does cause her fair share of suffering. Let's consider lethal force by itself and, for the moment, forget about the various reasons and justifications for it. Every time Samara or Morinth or anybody kills another person, regardless of what sort of person that was, that person had a family. That person had friends. That person had a number of people who are going to be heartbroken by their passing.

If Samara were to try to take people into custody without killing them, she would be sparing their families and friends a lot of grief. But—whether because of personal inclination or because she decided to follow her order's Code or some combination of the two—she doesn't even try.

I don't like that. On a number of occasions in ME1 and ME2, the Paragon decision involves sparing the life of a criminal instead of just gunning the criminal down in cold blood. That is what the good guys are supposed to do, in my opinion. They are supposed to avoid doing the same things as the bad guys. If a good guy kills, say, five people when there are other options and goes on to say "I am NOT as bad as the bad guys, because I kill fewer people than they do,"...fine, okay, that's true good guy, but you still murder people. People who, perhaps, might have turned over a new leaf if they'd been left alive. People who might have done what they did more due to being mentally fucked up than out of a decision to be evil just for the hell of it, and might have benefited from therapy that cured their mental problems.

Jack, for example, starts out as a dangerous killer, undoubtedly somebody who—were Samara to cross paths with her prior to both of them meeting Shepard—Samara would have attempted to execute in cold blood. Turns out that's the wrong thing to do, because guess what? Jack can be redeemed. Jack can become a better person, with Shepard's help. Jack can cease to be a threat to innocent people if somebody takes the time to try and rehabilitate her.

I'm getting off-topic here. TL;DR is I'm not fond of Samara because her go-to answer for dealing with criminals is to kill them. She usually doesn't look for other options. She never gives a satisfactory explanation (at least not in this game) why she doesn't look for other options. Even if Morinth is utterly and absolutely irredeemable and beyond saving, not everybody Samara kills is as bad as Morinth.

I've gotten Samara's side of the story via conversations with her and observation of her actions. Now I'm going to get Morinth's side of things.

Maybe I'll be surprised, maybe not.

For now, as the title says, I'm just waiting for the turning point in the story where I go to Omega and have to choose between one or the other.


Jul 15th 2013 at 4:00:26 AM
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.