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Analysis / Ben 10: Ultimate Alien

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Ben 10 Ultimate Alien is about studying the possibility of Ben going Knight Templar

Lately, I have been trying to analyse Ultimate Alien a bit deeper. And then I realized: the whole plot was mostly about Ben being confronted with the possibility he might go Knight Templar, and the question of weither or not he should cross the line.

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    The Ultimatrix 

It starts out with the Ultimatrix. Keep in mind that the Ultimatrix, while started by Azmuth, was completeted by Albedo, who was a villain. Unlike Azmuth, who is a Technical Pacifist, Albedo designed the thing to be a weapon. It's much more fight-oriented than the Omnitrix, can turn the alien into stronger, more aggressive versions of themselves. It lacks the more benevolent functions, like the ability to heal genetic damages. Azmuth doesn't just disapprove the Ultimatrix and treat it like inferior because of the poor manufacture or because the fans think it sucks, he also dislikes it because it's a weapon, despite Ben's denial.

This is even visible in the flaws: in Ultimate Sacrifice, Ben finds out the Ultimate Aliens have become sentient, and he is hurting them. This is eventually fixed by Azmuth, but this proves the Ultimatrix has bad effects. Moreover, if you follow the show, Ben, while initially careful to use the Ultimate Aliens, starts abusing of them more and more easily, sometimes outright going Ultimate from the beginning. He even acts needlessly aggressive, pursuing Albedo despite the guy not being a threat anymore at this point. He doesn't exactly get drunk with power, but it's close.


    Aggregor, the villain who questions Ben's idealism 
Aggregor, being a major challenge, plays a large part in leading Ben to go this direction. Like Vilgax, Aggregor can't be reasoned with; he is a Sociopath who is willing to coldly kill anyone to achieve his plans. Also, importantly, he is a very smart, competent villain: for most the show, he Out-Gambits Ben and his team, often easily using them to reach his goals by taking advantage on their good nature. For exemple, he easily gets the Alpha Rune from Adwaita because they were busy helping Charmcaster, and pick the aliens by taking advantage on them trying to help them go home. Even when trying to do the right thing by helping the guardian of the last piece of the Map of Infinity, leaving his Chronic Hero Syndrome getting the best of him in the process, Ben ends up helping Aggregor. For the first time since the whole franchise started, Ben finds himself in a situation where he is constantly getting bested by his opponent despite his efforts. And, unlike the Hightbreeds, it's an enemy far too ruthless to be reasoned with.

This, as a whole, probably makes Ben reconsider his role as a hero; he does realizes that at several points, trying to do the best thing to help people around him played against him when faced with Aggregor, something Azmuth calls him out for. He is starting to question himself, to wonder if maybe trying to not make any sacrifice isn't always the best choice, that he might need to Shoot the Dog for the best of everybody.

    Kevin 11 Returns, Ben's first test 
Then, after they finally defeat Aggregor, Kevin goes psycho again and take over as the Big Bad. Ben is, once again, blaming himself for what happened, since he was the one who trusted Kevin to join them in the first place, and did so too quickly. Plus, keep in mind that this is the third time, if you take in account the original show, that he offered Kevin a second chance or an alliance and ended up being betrayed. He is now starting to believe that he was wrong to begin with, and should never have trust Kevin in the first place.

As a result, Ben starts believing that the only way to deal with Kevin now is to kill him. He doesn't like it, but he feels like after so many attempts to help him, this is the last resort. So he inhibits his Chronic Hero Syndrome, and tries to Shoot the Dog. He feels like Gwen is defending Kevin because he used to be her boyfriend, and as such shrug off her suggestion for a saner solution. Ben basically acknowledge he did mistakes, but he assumes wrongly that going with his principles was a bad idea as well. Plus, Paradox told him he knew what decision make, and he believes this is the moment of truth. Fortunately, Gwen is able to convince him at the last minute to try a better solution, and he barely avoids Jumping Off the Slippery Slope. It still comes close though, and his Knight Templar issues aren't fully solved.

    Fallen Heroes, a recurring theme in Ultimate Alien 
If you take a closer look, the theme of Fallen Hero is extremely recurring in the show as a whole. Kevin, while he was a reformed criminal to begin with, could count, but you also have Captain Nemesis and Eon. Both are good examples: Captain Nemesis is a major case of Broken Pedestal for Ben, in that he used to be one of the heroes who inspired Ben, a guy who he look up to. In the end, Captain Nemesis let himself consumed by envy and greed, corrupted by his own fame. Worst, he actually became a handful murderer, something Ben had only seen with his worst enemies so far. This makes it even more of a shock for Ben, who cannot believe a guy who used to be a great hero ended up turning in a monster.

Then comes Eon. As revealed by the end of the episode, this Eon is none other than an alternate future version of Ben himself. This time, Ben is directly confronted to the possibility that he might himself become a villain, just like Captain Nemesis did. The reason why is left unclear, and Eon eventually is erased from existence, but the possibility remains.

    Old George, a mirror to Ben 
Later, we are introduced to Old George, who turns the Forever Knights back into a real threat, causing them to actually murder a character and start a purge against aliens. This, once again, leads Ben to almost go against his rules, and threaten to kill Driscoll. However, the is more than that in George himself.

George, just like previous exemple listed, is a Fallen Hero. However, he is a different kind than previous ones. He is not consumed by some kind of Super-Powered Evil Side like Kevin was. He is not motivated by greed or envy like Captain Nemesis. He is a Hero Antagonist, who truly believes he is doing the right thing and actually follows heroic goals and ethics. He also is, much like Ben, a guy who got his weapon from Azmuth, and is annoyed by Azmuth wanting to control him. In many way, he is a Shadow Archetype to Ben... and what Ben might become later.

    "Ultimate Enemy": the final test 
Comes the finale, the game of mirror continues; Vilgax, Ben's Arch-Enemy, take Diagon's place after George's death. Similarly, Ben picks George's sword and take George's place: he is now closer to be like George than he ever was. Except he has much more power, having at his disposal Diagon's powers, the Ultimatrix and the sword after winning. Vilgax is smart about that and tries to act like The Corrupter, telling Ben to use the power. More than ever, Ben is close to become a Knight Templar; he is confronted to the same test than George was before him. Eventually, Julie's intervention allows him to overcome it: he choses, despite having more power than he ever had before, to not let himself be corrupted by it, and uses said power for the strict necessary before handing over the sword to Azmuth. The risk has passed: Ben hasn't succumbed to the temptation. Azmuth is satisfied with this, and decides he is ready to be trusted, destroying the Ultimatrix that was the initial source of his temptation and handing him over the new Omnitrix.


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