Blood Gulch Crew (Red Team | Blue Team [Leonard L. Church, Lavernius Tucker, Michael J. Caboose]) | Project Freelancer (Simulation Troopers | Artificial Intelligences) | Charon Industries (Space Pirates) | Chorus | Cosmic Powers | Alliance of Defense | Others
Captain Michael J. Caboose
Caboose, who accidentally enlisted in the Blue Army after mistaking a recruitment center for a college, is introduced as The Fool, but quickly devolves into a complete idiot. As his name suggests, he is the last to arrive at any train of thought's destination. Occasional journeys into his mind have revealed that Caboose's view of the world is at drastic odds with reality - he has mental constructs representing the rest of the cast running around inside of his head, ranging from a Church who vehemently insists that Caboose is his best friend, to a Sarge that talks like a pirate. Caboose is a bigger danger to his teammates than to his enemies, to the extent that the surest way to get him to shoot someone is to tell him they're on his team, and Command has a keyboard shortcut to report his teamkills (Ctrl+F+U). He is also the only consistent member of the Blue Team over the series, thanks to Tucker's absence from Season 6 and the first half of Season 7 and Church's absence from the first half of Season 7, all of Season 9 (to the real-world Blues at least), and Season 11.
Caboose primarily serves as a comic relief character and gets some of the series' best lines, but he has occasional impact on the plot. After Tex's death he's briefly possessed by O'Malley (and the resulting mental trauma may explain his lowered IQ afterwards), and when the Red and Blue Teams have to work together to track down the rogue AI, he helps Sarge combat the Zealots of Battle Creek thanks in part to his superhuman strength ("God's way of compensating"). Caboose gets along (marginally) quite well with machines, hence his "relationship" with Sheila and his friendship of sorts with Andy the bomb. And once in a great while, he has a useful idea, such as the plan that gets Washington and both teams into Command near the finale of Reconstruction. He wears dark blue armor, and in episodes created using Halo 3 is easily distinguishable due to his Mark V helmet, as the rest of the cast have upgraded to Mark VIs.
In Recreation, he is the only member of the Blue Team due to Church/The Alpha's Heroic Sacrifice at the end of the last season and also due to Tucker's absence. Throughout the season, he uses various bits and pieces to try and rebuild Church, leading to Epsilon's memories being based on Caboose's view of the Red and Blue teams... though exposure to slightly more in-touch individuals seems to have alleviated this.
He is one of the few real-world characters (the others being Sarge and Carolina) to appear in the present-day storyline of Season 9. He shows up at the end, leading a rescue mission to retrieve Epsilon from the broken memory unit.
In Season 11, he hits a Heroic BSoD due to Church's sudden departure, but this is alleviated when he gets a new friend - Freckles, the giant battle robot. Due to a misunderstanding, he's temporarily made the leader and Commanding Officer of the Blue Team, demoting Washington in the process.
In Season 12, he has joined the New Republic along with Tucker, Simmons and Grif, and is the captain of his own squad, the Blue Team. In the following season, it is thanks to him passing the test to be a "true warrior" that everyone makes contact with an Alien A.I. that Caboose names "Santa".
In Season 15, he has once again become depressed over Church's absence from the group and is overjoyed when the group receives a message that is apparently from Church. He is shown to not understand basic concepts like death, and is eventually forced to accept that Church is gone & he needs to move on with his life.
In The Shisno Paradox, he gets sent back in time with Lopez, and through several off-screen adventures he ends up accidentally starting several real-life historical events, as well as a few events in-universe. When the Reds and Blues later meet the Cosmic Powers, Caboose is the only one to not ask for his own Laser Sword, instead wanting to have Genkins' golf club, which Atlus lets him keep.
In Singularity, Caboose is trapped reliving his past constantly along with most of the other Reds and Blues. After he is saved by Donut and Agent Washington, he displays a surprising amount of intelligence with time travel, immediately understanding the situation and making a plan to fix the timeline with help from Huggins. The golf club he obtained the previous season also plays a major role in the climax of the season.
- Accidental Hero: He shoots South Dakota in the back after Church informs him that she needs their help, which Caboose interprets in his usual way.
- Acquainted with Emergency Services: Due to Caboose's track-record for managing to accidentally kill his own teammates, Freelance Command had managed to create a Keyboard Shortcut to better report them on their computers whenever Caboose manages to kill another simulation trooper in the same fashion.Caboose: CTRL-F-U.
- Alas, Poor Yorick: We don't actually get to see this happen, but after Epsilon's Heroic Sacrifice in Season 13, Caboose would apparently do this with Alpha-Church's helmet to help him work through his grief over Church's death(s).
- Ambiguous Disorder: Due to having gone through a lot of brain damage, Caboose often comes across as almost completely divorced from reality. Several episodes have heavily implied that he may be somewhere on the autistic spectrum, and it's been also all but stated that he suffers from at least one learning disorder. That being said, the ambiguity is kept intentionally vague for Caboose since he's also the only character in the series to be cognizant of the fact that he's fictional, which makes it hard to tell how much of his craziness is him being an idiot and how much is him trying to put what he's seeing into the proper frame of reference for everyone. In Season 17, he openly acknowledges that he does have some form of brain damage, but qualifying it is left vague.
- Animal Motifs: A fairly subtle one, but Caboose often behaves like a big, dumb dog. He's friendly, slow to pick up on things, and has somewhat unrefined manners. Additionally, he treats Freckles like he's a puppy when he starts taking care of him in Season 11. During Season 12, he worries about being taken to "the vet," and is mentioned to often have to go on long walks through Chrous' few remaining parks during Season 13 so as to help exercise. Season 15 even reveals that he's colorblind much like dogs are.
- The Antichrist: Played for Laughs. The Badass Boast that presages his Curb-Stomp Battle causes the Red Zealot to deem him in sheer terror, "The Beast! The Anti-Flag, come to live among us and rule us for seven years!" This comes in handy in Season 15, Episode 18, when his reputation returns to haunt them.
- The Anti-Nihilist: In a sense. Caboose is probably too much of a Wide-Eyed Idealist to play this trope completely straight, but despite having been gone through Hell and back multiple times over the course of the series, Caboose still always chooses to be positive, caring, and forgiving towards other people.
- Awesome Anachronistic Apparel: Arguably; once the series allows for armor customization, Caboose is distinguished from the other Blood Gulchers by wearing the Mark V (Halo: Combat Evolved) helmet, while everyone else is wearing Mark VI (Halo 2 and Halo 3); with Church angrily asking why he refused to upgrade. The fact he's wearing outdated armor becomes a plot point later on.
- Badass Adorable: An odd example since we never see his face, but he has a very friendly personality that hides his fighting prowess.
- Badass Baritone: Whenever he goes into Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass.
- Badass Boast: Speaks this way when he taps into his "mean" side. At least, attempts to.Caboose: I will eat your unhappiness!
Caboose: Your toast has been burned! And no amount of scraping will remove the black parts!
Caboose: MY NAME IS MICHAEL J. CABOOSE. AND I...HATE...TAXES!
- Beware the Nice Ones:
While beating up the Battle Creek Reds and Blues after Wash was shot in the throat YOU! (WHACK) HURT! (WHACK) MY! (WHACK) FRIEND!
- He maybe one of the more naive & nicer characters and while he does have a habit of being a team-killing Lethal Klutz. But when you get him genuinely angry (even without the need of his O'Malley side) you better watch out because you're in for a world of hurt.
- Beyond the Impossible: Caboose somehow found a door in the men's restroom that led him to Vic's intro in Season 14. Vic is so impressed he gives control of an episode to Caboose.
- Big Brother Instinct: Inverted. While he was initially jealous of Tucker's friendship with Church, Caboose and Tucker's relationship significantly improves over the course of the series. Notably, when Tucker is suffering through a Heroic BSoD in Season 15 after Wash is shot through the neck, Caboose immediately goes to comfort him before Dylan Andrews tell him that Tucker needs some time alone.
- The Big Guy: Served in this role for Blue Team during The Blood Gulch Chronicles by virtue of having Super Strength.
- Borrowed Catchphrase.
Caboose: Hey chicka bum bum.
- In Season 10, he and Tucker - not on purpose - borrow Wash's "Worst thing ever. Of all time." catchphrase multiple times.
- Caboose will also occasionally mangle Tucker's "Bow Chicka Wow Wow", much to the latter's frustration.
- Berserk Button: As Genkins learns the hard way, desecrating Church's memory in any way will earn you a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
- Big Stupid Doo Doo Head: In Revelation, when everyone it trying to insult Church to get him angry enough to use his "laser face" again in the first episode, Caboose's attempts at insulting Church boils down to him saying Church can't wear pants now that he's possessing the spherical body of a Forerunner Monitor. Hilariously enough, this is the only insult that works, since Church gets depressed when he realizes Caboose is right.
- Book Dumb: While Caboose is genuinely dumb, he's this concerning machinery. Caboose is a borderline expert at handling and repairing them, even with advanced A.I.s like Epsilon, but he believes that electricity is "invisible magic" and randomly producing fires whenever he tries to repair something.
- Break the Cutie: In Season 15, he does not take the realization that Church has been Dead All Along, and there's no coming back for him this time, very well.
- Breakout Character: Thanks to his hilarious Cloudcuckoolander tendencies, friendly personality, and surprising Hidden Depths, Caboose is by far the most popular character out of the whole cast, and is the most likely character to be featured in PSAs and other special episodes.
- Broken Pedestal: In Episode 18 of Season 10, an enraged Epsilon-Church gives the whole of the Blood Gulch Crew a vicious "The Reason You Suck" Speech. Caboose walks away without a word. However, he seems to have gotten better by Episode 20 of the same season, so it's hard to tell how much of a Broken Pedestal it really is.
- Brutal Honesty: After Tucker and Church spend most of Season 12 at each other's throats, Caboose takes it upon himself to force Tucker to try and bury the hatchet by bluntly telling him that his worthless antagonizing of Church over a mistake is only going to keep their fight going, and he just needs to "shut up and get over it!" Tucker actually takes it to heart, and goes to apologize.
- Captain Oblivious: Is almost always oblivious to what's going on around him as a result of his bizarre mental state. His thoughts on Doc trying to take over the world while losing his mind from his O'Malley Split Personality?Caboose: Yeah, it's like an inside joke.
- He doesn't use it that often, but...
- Whenever he does something wrong, he will usually follow it up with "Tucker did it."
- Whenever he brings up a teamkilling incident, he will always end his sentence with "...which is nobody's fault!"
- Character Development:
- Downplayed, but from Season 7 onwards Caboose has slowly started to regain some of the intelligence, Genius Ditz elements, and even Deadpan Snarker tendencies he had before his Flanderization.
- In Season 15, while he's depressed that he Never Got to Say Goodbye to Church when Temple makes it clear that Church is permanently dead, he refuses to pull a time-displaced Season 1-era Alpha-Church to the present in the finale. Also, he comes to terms with his grief and says his goodbyes to Church while making it clear that he will be able to move on with his life because of his other friends. Additionally, he seems to have finally given up on his childish grudge towards Tucker, instead now having formed an Odd Friendship with his comrade after Church's death.
- Singularity further highlights Caboose regaining more intelligence, working together with Huggins to come up with a plan to simplify the Reds and Blues' efforts to fix Genkins' paradoxes. Additionally, he admits his issues regarding processing grief when confronting Genkins!Church on defiling his best friend's memory, and muses how he's been "working on my assertiveness" later on in the season to Tucker.
- Character Focus: He's the main protagonist in Recreation, with the season focusing on his efforts to revive Church through Epsilon. He also shares the role of tritagonist with Simmons and Tucker respectively in Season 11 and 15.
- Characterization Marches On: It's easy to forget that the Caboose in the early episodes was just a mildly dimwitted Deadpan Snarker as opposed to being an idiot almost completely divorced from reality.
- Classical Anti-Hero: He'd probably be the most heroic character in the entire series, let alone Blue Team, if he wasn't both dumb as a stump and a danger to both enemies and allies.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Far from being just plain stupid, Caboose is almost completely divorced from reality and utters many bizarre yet occasionally insightful non-sequiturs. His Season 9 incarnation from within the Epsilon Unit takes this Up to Eleven when Epsilon makes up a story about Andersmith, a soldier who supposedly died and got buried and removed from records by the Blue team, all to justify Tex's arrival at the base. This is all somewhat within reason, and Caboose and Tucker play along (poorly, in Tucker's case), but then Caboose continues to mourn Andersmith even after Tex leaves the conversation. Tucker even notes at one point that he's getting worried about Caboose's mental state. It doesn't help that he's apparently been regularly drinking gasoline since his first week at Blood Gulch.
- Comically Missing the Point: A recurring trend with him.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: His hatred towards Tucker is implied to stem from his jealousy of his status as Church's favorite teammate.
- Creepy Good: In Relocated, his secrecy about his attempts to revive Church through the Epsilon unit makes him surprisingly unsettling (albeit in a Played for Laughs manner), but his goals are still completely benevolent.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Despite his many mental quirks, Caboose has been shown to possess immense superhuman strength and, when sufficiently angry, is able to single-handedly wipe out both the Red and Blue Battle Creek Zealots. He's also easily the best shot on the Blue Team (although Tucker is starting to give him a run for his money). It just happens that he's usually shooting at the Blue Team.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: Several of Caboose's seemingly bizarre non-sequiturs turn out to be actually correct in hindsight. Examples include his belief that Tex is a robot in Season 1, him implying that the Red and Blue Teams aren't real soldiers, and his statement that "Time isn't made out of lines, it is made out of circles. That is why clocks are round", which nicely sums up the "You Already Changed the Past" and "You Can't Fight Fate" themes of the time travel episodes in Season 3 (along with the larger theme of circular memory loops in both The Recollection and Season 9). His "time is made of circles" comment is also proven to be correct yet again in Singularity when Huggins reveals that black holes in the RvB verse loop time backwards to the Big Bang. Additionally, Caboose's comment that Church is a "gay robot" would be proven to be correct From a Certain Point of View twice over - Alpha-Church was an A.I. who would later inhabit two different robot bodies, and Epsilon-Church was perfectly fine being with a male version of Tex while in the Memory Unit. Caboose also shows a remarkably consistent and accurate understanding of Project Freelancer, the Freelancer A.I.s, and the Director throughout both The Recollection and Season 10. And then he actually comes up with a good plan when breaking into the Fed base in Season 12, leading to Tucker honestly congratulating him. His strategy of tying his enemies' shoelaces together in Season 15 is also surprisingly effective when the Blood Gulch Crew are assaulting the Blues and Reds' volcano base on Earth. And while it's almost certainly a coincidence, his pick of Genkins' golf club instead of a Laser Blade during The Shisno Paradox would later prove to have actually been the right choice after all since Singularity would reveal that Genkins' golf club is the only weapon that can harm Chrovos and Genkins.
- Cuckoosnarker: Has his moments in the later seasons as part of him regaining a little bit of his sarcastic side from the earliest episodes of the show. For instance, when he, Carolina, Epsilon, Dr. Grey, and Tucker are investigating the Jungle Temple in Season 13 (which requires a "true warrior of great strength and mental clarity"), Tucker defensively states that he's strong and intelligent enough to get through the trials - and Caboose muses aloud that Tucker only "has his moments."
- Cuteness Proximity: Word of God claims that one of the reasons why he acts so dumb around the other Reds and Blues is that he sometimes sees/treats the rest of the Blood Gulch Crew like they're cats, and so often he finds it hard to take them seriously.
- Deadpan Snarker: He actually had elements of this before his Flanderization. As his personality started to slowly move back toward what it was pre-Flanderization, he regained some of this, albeit heavily downplayed.
- Determinator: He's Church's best friend (whether Church likes it or not), and nothing will stop him from rescuing Church if he's in trouble.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: He beats the shit out of Genkins when the Trickster God possesses his dead best friend and refuses to leave his body.
- Disappeared Dad: Implied. When he thinks Washington is about to report the death of one of his family members during their first meeting in Reconstruction, he asks if his dad died "again", hinting that his father has already died before.
- The Ditz: Easily the dumbest member of the cast. To say that this is one of the reasons he's quite popular with the audience would be an understatement.
- The Dreaded: His mere presence sends the Battle Creek Zealots working for the Blues and Reds into a panic, and him killing five of them out of anger causes the rest of them to retreat immediately.
- Driving Stick: Can do this, but can't drive automatic shift.
- Dumbass Has a Point: Occasionally has surprisingly good ideas. For instance, he actually develops a pretty clever idea for fixing the non-functional Sheila (namely, have Church leave Lopez's body for a while so that Lopez can do it), and it only fails because Caboose & Tucker Failed a Spot Check. He also accurately predicted that he, Tucker, the Alien, and Andy would have to travel through a swamp while on their "Great Journey" since there would logically be "wet plains" in-between the Great Burning Plains and Great Freezing Plains. Furthermore, as alluded to above, Caboose was also the one to come up with a way to break into the Federal Army of Chorus' Arctic base (melt their way in under the frozen walls). And as noted below, he's the one who comes up with the plan to get everyone inside of Freelancer Command during Reconstruction:Washington: But you don't look like Freelancers. Or Recovery Agents!
Caboose: ...They can't see inside of a tank!
- Dumb Muscle: He's physically the strongest of the Reds and Blues, being the only one who was able to pick up Andy the Bomb at first, flip a warthog effortlessly, beat up several Tex Drones with his barehands and was able to survive 10x Earth/Chorus' gravity without even noticing it. He's also about as bright as the space between galaxies.
- Dumb and Drummer: As revealed in Season 15's Previously On... he took part in a band that was comprised of Carolina (Vocals), Grif (Bass), Tucker (Guitar) and lastly with Caboose as the band's drummer. They made a song named VelociROCKtor and shows that he is a pretty damn good drummer. Check out his drum solo.
- Easily Forgiven: His stupidity constantly destroys the crew's plans, nearly gets them killed, or (for Church and Sarge) actually gets them killed. And yet he consistently gets off scot-free, and is constantly coddled by the others. Instead of viewing him as an unwitting menace to themselves and their objectives, the team still allows him to be involved in things, and treats him more like a confused child. To Caboose's credit, he does make it up at times by being quite helpful when the situation calls for it.
- Even the Loving Hero Has Hated Ones: He is a Kindhearted Simpleton who's friendly to whoever he meets, even his enemies. The sole exception is the time-traveling ancient AI Genkins, who manages to drive Caboose into an Unstoppable Rage after he sees him possessing his late best friend Church, resulting in him mercilessly beating Genkins until he leaves Church's body.
- Everyone's Baby Sister: The "Brother" version of this for the Blood Gulch Crew. Even more so than Donut, when someone does something mean to Caboose everyone seems to take offense, or at least seems more likely to apologize or speak nicer to him about how things go, even when they are insulting everyone else. This includes even the pre-Recollection Reds, and very quickly includes Washington in his Straight Man phase and Carolina post-Character Development.
- Excellent Judge of Character: Caboose can be surprisingly good at judging someone's character in occasion. He immediately picks up that Washington, in spite of his meanness, is a good man trying to bring Project Freelancer to justice (though granted this means he believes him to be a superhero), he quickly cottons on that Epsilon essentially feeds on memories and starts telling it stories about Church in the hopes of reviving his friend, and by The Recollection he's realized that the Reds don't really pose a threat to him.
- Failed a Spot Check: Often suffers from this due to him being The Ditz. Heck, his entire military career is the result of one, as he first joined the UNSC military when he mistook an army recruiting center for college.
- He killed Church twice, once while in a malfunctioning tank, the other while Church was possessing the enemy commander (and a third time with the tank again in two non-canon endings to The Blood Gulch Chronicles). And yet in later seasons, being called his ally is the fastest way to get him to shoot you. By the time of Reconstruction, Project Freelancer Command has even developed a keyboard shortcut for reporting his teamkills: Ctrl+F+U.
- He wasn't nearly as stupid or naïve at the start of the show as he is now. He got Tucker's joke about how Freelancers are like Your Mom asking when the rent's due, responded with a resoundingly sarcastic HA HA HANo when Tucker mocked him about his teamkilling, and realized he was in real danger when Sarge strafed Sheila. The current Caboose would be completely oblivious to all three of those events.
- Fluffy Tamer: In Season 4, Caboose somehow gets the Alien to stop attacking everyone. In Season 11, Caboose manages to rebuild and befriend a MANTIS-class assault robot, whom he names Freckles. And in Season 15, we learn that after Chorus, he somehow managed to tame the dinosaurs native to Iris (the moon the Reds and Blues were staying on), to which Grif notes, "Because of course he did."
- To Donut. Both are easily the friendliest, dumbest, and silliest members of their respective teams along with being Made of Iron to an absurd degree. Caboose and Donut also both use (relatively) archaic weapons for the setting (Caboose has a standard assault rifle and Donut uses (plasma) grenades), and wear colored armor that makes them stick easily out from the rest of their teams (Donut wears bright pink armor, and Caboose has both dark blue armor and a MJOLNIR Mark V helmet). The parallels between the two are certainly helped in that both are surprisingly good friends with each other even going into the later seasons, and they both also have goofy-sounding last names that fit their remarkably silly personalities. However, they differ in that Donut is more emphasized to be absurdly naive rather than almost completely divorced from reality like Caboose is. Furthermore, Donut is highly Ambiguously Gay, with almost all of his dialogue consisting of Double Entendres, while Caboose is more like a little kid, to the point where he didn't even know where babies come from in Season 5. And finally, Caboose is a Fourth-Wall Observer and is aware on some level that he's a fictional character, whereas Donut isn't.
- Oddly enough, he's this to Felix of all people. Both of them are childish men who are unable to take responsibility for their mistakes, are highly possessive and clingy towards someone close to them (Church for Caboose, Locus for Felix) and are highly skilled in combat. However, Felix is a cunning and self-serving Psychopathic Manchild who manipulates Locus for his own ends and boasts repeatedly about his skills, while Caboose is a kindhearted, dimwitted man who is deeply loyal to Church and his friends and only uses his combat prowess in desperate situations and never really calls attention to it.
- To Temple. They're both Psychopathic Manchildren coping with the death of their best friends, who they refuse to move on from. However, Caboose is naively convinced that Church is still alive and doesn't comprehend that he's dead until it's literally spelled out to him, while Temple is well aware that Biff is dead and insanely bitter and vengeful about it. Furthermore, while Caboose is generally kind and has willingly put his own life on the line to help others, Temple is a sadist who loves watching other people in pain. And whereas Caboose eventually moves on and says goodbye to Church, Temple continues to obsess over said death until it drives him insane and turns him into a psychotic and cruel shell of his former self.
- Foreshadowing: During Church's time loops in Season 3, one of the copies mentions offhand that when they tried to explain the situation to everyone, Caboose was the only one to understand everything immediately. Fast forward to Season 17 and he is arguably the most knowledgeable person in the cast regarding time travel, picking up the concept so fast that Donut doesn't even have time to explain it before he and Huggins are already fixing paradoxes.
- Forgot Flanders Could Do That: His "being mean" from Season 3 would been a rather useful skill to repeat, but it takes until Season 10 for someone to try and get him angry, and he says that he "forgot how to do that." With a little help from Epsilon, he remembers. This also reappears in Season 15 after Wash is shot, right down to the same ones targeted by his first outburst of anger.
- Fourth-Wall Observer: Part of Caboose's kookiness is all but stated to be due to the fact that he's aware of being a fictional character.
- Freak Out: Wash being shot in the throat and Genkins possessing Church sends him into an Unstoppable Rage and results in him beating whoever incurred his wrath.
- Friendly Enemy: Up until Revelation, where the Reds and Blues become permanently allied, Caboose usually treats them as friends and is nothing but kind to the Reds.
- Funny Background Event: Sometimes while other members of both teams are in the middle of something important or just talking about something, he can be seen in the background looking at something else instead of paying attention to what's going on.
- Genius Ditz:
- While in Valhalla in Recreation, he's more productive than any member of either teamnote . Sure, there's a fire, but he's still getting stuff done. Especially considering he manages to revive Church, by himself, by reprogramming the Epsilon Unit and feeding it memories during this time. These moments have become more frequent in Season 9 and beyond as Caboose is reverted to his personality pre-Flanderization.
- Caboose has also been shown to be very knowledgeable concerning time travel. In a throwaway line by Church in Season 3, he claimed that Caboose was the only one who seemed to understand his time travel experience right away. This is eventually shown in even more detail in Singularity. After being rescued by Donut and Washington from the Everwhen, he instantly understands everything that is going on and even offers to explain for everyone but instead allows Donut and Washington to explain for everyone else's sake. He also knows how to time travel without Donut or Washington explaining how to do it or that he even could, and immediately begins fixing the timeline himself before the others catch up to him. When they do finally catch up, he and Huggins have already figured out how to find the various paradoxes they need to fix and he explains why they need to fix them in a simple way for everyone to understand, which even impresses Donut.Washington: (stunned) Is... is Caboose a genius?
Sarge: (irritated) If he is, I just prefer not to know.
- Genre Savvy: Concerning time travel, Caboose is a total expert and figures it out instantly, even realizing how to fix the various paradoxes.
- The Heart: His overall role in the Reds and Blues is more or less this, with him being both Everyone's Baby Sister and the most emotionally aware member out of the entire Blood Gulch Crew.
- Heroic BSoD:
- Falls into one during Season 11 due to him missing Epsilon after he and Carolina left the Blood Gulch Crew, with him focusing on Freckles so he doesn't have to come to terms with his grief.
- Has a brief one in Season 15 when Temple makes him realize that Church has been Killed Off for Real and won't be coming Back from the Dead like he previously did.
- Hidden Depths:
- Caboose not only has his occasional moments of brilliance, but is surprisingly good with machinery & A.I.. He even has his occasional Deadpan Snarker moments.
- In Season 12, after being overjoyed at Freckles being reduced to his CPU, he shows surprising pragmatism when he points out that, on top of Freckles being really tiny now, he will no longer be able to pose a threat to the other Reds and Blues.
- According to "Mr. Red vs. Mr. Blue," he is a dedicated method actor.
- He, Grif, Tucker and Carolina all started a band during the group's vacation in-between The Chorus Trilogy and Season 15. And as shown in the end credits for the season, Caboose is pretty great at playing the drums.
- According to the "Cultural Appreciation" PSA, he apparently attended Harvard. As a back-up school.
- And on a more general level, Caboose is remarkably emotionally aware, and is probably the most emotionally well-balanced and insightful member of the Blood Gulch Crew. For instance, he gives Tucker his own equivalent of a Rousing Speech in Season 12 when the latter is still feeling resentful towards Epsilon, being equal parts forgiving and firm on the situation and saying everything necessary so as to help Tucker bury the hatchet with Church. Relatedly, in "Nightmare on Planet Evil" during Season 15, Caboose goes to Simmons instead of Tuckernote , Donutnote , and Sargenote while they're all on the "scary planet." Caboose then tries to help Simmons feel better (as Simmons is still upset over Grif having left the Blood Gulch Crew in the previous episode), with Caboose even tapping into his own grief over Church's previous deaths to try and relate to Simmons' pain.
- Idiot Savant: He can fix an A.I. and a MANTIS, but just isn't very smart. Although he has an impressive amount of knowledge when it comes to time travel.
- Image Song: "Your Best Friend".
- Insane Troll Logic: Cabooses thought process runs on this; whether it be blaming something else for his own failures or wildly reinterpreting what is actually happening, actual Logic almost never enters the equation. That said, sometimes his conclusions are eventually proven right, though other times theyre just nonsense.
- Insistent Terminology: Whenever his teamkilling is brought up, expect Caboose to say that they were nobody's fault.
- Irrational Hatred: In the early seasons, he has an inexplicable hatred towards Tucker, though it's implied to stem from jealousy of Tucker's status as Church's favorite teammate.
- Season 2 has one of the very few times that Caboose offers up a legitimately good idea that his teammates follow through on (namely, having Church temporarily leave Lopez's body so Lopez can fix his broken leg motors and Sheila). Why doesn't it work? Because Lopez is able to escape when Caboose and Tucker are distracted by the latter complimenting the former on how unexpectedly brilliant their plan was.
- Church offhandedly reveals in Season 3 that when he tried to explain the time travel situation to the Blood Gulch Crew, Caboose was the only one who understood the situation immediately. In a later episode, he's also the only person to suspect there are holes in Church's story (Church claimed that he didn't change anything during his travels, which is only technically true), though that time it's Played for Laughs.
- Caboose - the Team Killer of the Blue Team - is the only member of the Reds and Blues to have not helped cause the Hand of Merope to crashland on Chorus.
- Despite being the only human member of the Reds and Blues to have incredible Super Strength, The Ultimate Fan Guide claims that Caboose is actually a Lightworlder since he grew up on Earth's Moon.
- I Reject Your Reality:
- Caboose firmly believes he and Church are best friends, and anything that could contradict this is either ignored or wildly reinterpreted. As time goes on, however, it becomes clear Church does legitimately consider Caboose a friend, and Caboose's grasp on reality is always baffling in general, though he does get better at understanding the situation around him in The Recollection.
- A more tragic case happens in Season 15, where he refuses to acknowledge that Church is gone for good and continues to believe he'll come back.
- Jerkass to One: Caboose is a Nice Guy to everyone, even his enemies... except for Tucker, who he loathes with a passion and frequently insults. This gets mostly dropped as he gains Character Development and he even gains an inverted form of Big Brother Instinct for Tucker.
- The Juggernaut: On the rare occasions he gets angry, hes utterly unstoppable on the battlefield and will wipe the floor with any opponent, as the Battle Creek Grunts and Genkins learn the hard way.
- Kid with the Leash: Becomes this in Season 11 when he manages to find a MANTIS and convinces it to be his friend.
- Kindhearted Simpleton: While he's dimwitted and generally oblivious to the goings-on around him, his enthusiastic friendliness and lack of malice generally leads to the Blood Gulch crew treating him more like an annoying but otherwise inoffensive child, often with a wry fondness that they won't admit to.
- Large Ham: Especially since it's pretty easy for him to start randomly shouting & yelling.
- Lethal Klutz: He has a history of team-killing people he tries to help. So much so that, not only does the Blue Team tell Caboose to help someone they want shot, Freelancer Command has their own keyboard shortcut for his TKs (Ctrl+F+U). He apparently caused so much mayhem on Rat's Nest that the Blue Team over there didn't just keep him in the brig, they kept him tied up in the brig just to be absolutely sure.Caboose: Fire in the hole. (promptly tosses a flashbang at the crate right in front of him)
- Lightworlder: The Ultimate Fan Guide reveals he grew up on Earth's Moon, making him one of these. Ironically, he is physically the strongest of the Reds and Blues outside of the Freelancers.
- Lightning Bruiser: Most of the time he's almost as much of a Non-Action Guy as Donut is. On the extremely rare occasions in which he becomes mad, however, he turns into The Juggernaut.
- Loon with a Heart of Gold: Caboose doesn't have a mean bone in his body, and is also completely divorced from reality.
- Made of Iron: Caboose seriously rivals Donut in terms of being Nigh-Invulnerable by the standards of this series.
- He gets blown up by a landmine and flung 50 feet in the air in Recreation, and then gets up like nothing happened when he lands.
- After he falls off a cliff in Season 15, he shows up again minutes later with no signs of injury. He states that he landed on the part of him most used to trauma... his head.
- Meaningful Name:
- His mind always comes in dead last. If the characters are discussing something, Caboose will always be the last person to understand what's going on, and can usually be relied on to bring up whatever started the conversation by the time the other guys have finished talking about it.
- On a more subtle note, Caboose's first name is "Michael," as in the Archangel Michael, the most powerful member of the Heavenly Host in The Bible. While Caboose doesn't show it much, he's (physically) the strongest member of the Reds and Blues by a wide margin.
- Medium Awareness:
- According to his voice actor, Joel Heyman, he's the only person in the series who's aware he is in a video game. With this in mind, some of his actions at least make some more sense.
- And as it turns out, he's also aware he's in a show, since in Season 15, he says the time he shot Church with the tank "was an exciting episode."
- Meta Guy: An amusingly downplayed case. While he's aware of being in both a video game and a web series, Caboose is too stupid/crazy to really take advantage of/understand this and more or less just keeps it to himself aside from making some particularly odd comments every once in a while.
- The Millstone: In the early seasons, Caboose poses as much of a threat to his teammates as the enemy does thanks to his constant teamkilling during his attempts to help. It gets to the point that the Rats Nest Blues lock him up so that he'll stop shooting his fellow Blues. He gets better about this as time goes on.
- Mood-Swinger: Downplayed. Caboose isn't usually prone to mood swings and simply alternates between speaking at a normal volume or yelling at the top of his lungs most of the time, but he can and will on occasion shift into hysterics before going back to his usual cheerful self."I AM AN EMOTIONAL TIME BOMB!"
- Mook Horror Show:
- During the first encounter with the Zealots, he figures out how to be mean due to remembering what it was like to be possessed by O'Malley. He leaps screaming off a cliff, nonsensically declares that he "hates babies", and tears through both sets of fanatics. One poor guy even thinks he's the beast, come to usher in the End of Days.
- He ends up encountering the same group in Season 15... and after they shoot Wash, he is more than happy to give them a repeat performance.
- Mr. Fixit: Caboose seems to have a knack for getting along with machines (given his relationships with Sheila, Andy, Delta, and even to a degree Church and Tex), and has the technical skills to transfer Epsilon into a Monitor body, extract Tex from Epsilon and implant her into a robot body, and extract Epsilon from the failing memory device. In Season 11, he manages to repair and befriend a MANTIS combat mech, and managed to fix Lopez up after the latter temporarily lost his head in The Shisno Paradox. Noticeably, his skills only seem to apply to stuff that features an A.I., as whenever he tries to work on regular machinery they tend to catch fire.
- Mr. Vice Guy: Caboose is undoubtedly the nicest guy in the Blood Gulch Crew (next to Donut, of course). However, unlike Donut, Caboose's flaws are far more apparent, what with his constant team killing, his dislike of Tucker (though that gets downplayed as the series goes on), and his inability to take responsibility for his more destructive actions.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: He's entertained the idea of having Tucker killed or discredited so that Church will have no choice but to make him his favorite teammate.
- Never My Fault: His usual response when he makes a mistake (which, as we've established, is often) is to try and avoid blame. One of his many catchphrases is even "Tucker did it!"Washington: That was the worst throw... Ever. Of all time.
Caboose: Not my fault, someone put a wall in my way.
- Nice Guy: Not quite to the same extent of Donut, but Caboose is still the nicest guy on Blue Team and the second-nicest person out of all of the Blood Gulch Crew. For all of his ditziness and status as a Lethal Klutz, Caboose possess a shining heart of gold and truly cares about both his friends and people in general without holding any grudges, having willingly walked through fire (both literally and metaphorically) for what he thinks is right.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Beats the absolute shit out of Genkins for using Church as a disguise during Singularity. Even before that in a previous season (Season 15), Caboose goes into a fit of rage after Washington gets shot in the throat, teaming up with Sarge in beating up and killing the remaining Blue and Red Zealots. (Who also remember them from their previous encounter.)
- No Social Skills: Caboose tends to be Oblivious to Hatred and several social norms, particularly in the early seasons, where he inadvertently insults several characters, and Recreation, where he winds up convincing Sarge and Simmons he's plotting something with his secrecy and general creepiness about his plan to make a new best friend, though they prove to be to inept to actually do anything about it.
- Noodle Incident: If the "Hard Truths" PSA is to be believed, Caboose doesn't have a belly button. The reasons behind this are never explained, though Sarge apparently knows.
- No-Sell: Caboose has a tendency to completely ignore things that would leave others either incapacitated or dead.
- In Season 5, Tex shoots him in the back of the head, and aside from a brief Ow, hes completely unaffected.
- In Season 7, he steps on a landmine and goes so high in the air that it takes at least a minute and a half to come back down. All he has to say is "that was a big explosion".
- He spends the entire fight against the Tex Drones in Season 10 plowing straight through them while the others have to spend the entire fight keeping their distance.
- Santas test for a true warrior in Season 13, which even Felix and Locus were affected by, does absolutely nothing to him.
- Similarly, while the Labyrinth shows everyone their worst fears and tends to leave them as emotional messes in Singularity, Caboose just gets hungry.
- Oblivious to Hatred: Hes completely oblivious to any resentment Church has towards him, and hes even more oblivious of how much Captain Miller and the other Rats Nest Blues despise him.
- Odd Friendship:
- Caboose became BF Fs with Donut after the latter was temporarily captured by the Blues in the tail end of Season 2.
- Wash is a grumpy and bitter Guile Hero. Caboose is friendly, optimistic, and dumb as a box of rocks. They get along famously.
- While it's primarily limited to the PSAs, Sarge and Caboose actually get along quite well.
- Offscreen Teleportation: Seems to be a thing for him; he completes Wash's insane obstacle course from Season 11 in two seconds, Grif and Simmons somehow pass him twice in Season 12 while crawling through a corridor, and he somehow pops up from the screen border when talking to Huggins in Singularity.
- Oh, Crap!: When Sheila is about to shoot Church in Season 1, Caboose starts to panic and tries to stop her from firing.
- One-Man Army: He doesn't show it that often, but damn, Caboose can be legitimately terrifying on the battlefield when he really wants to.
- OOC Is Serious Business:
- Him turning away from Epsilon during "Change of Plans" shows that even he now has a Broken Pedestal for Church after being on the receiving end of Epsilon's "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
- It really says something about how utterly furious Caboose is with Genkins during Singularity for possessing Church when he actually starts to show some Tranquil Fury when talking to the demigod.
- Outdated Outfit: He still has Halo 1 (Mark V) armor. Downplayed, in that his armor is only outdated in-universe, and it looks mostly the same to viewers (ignoring the helmet).
- Outnumbered Sibling: According to Red vs. Blue: The Ultimate Fan Guide, Caboose has seventeen sisters.
- Out of Focus: In the first half of Season 12, Caboose is relegated to a more minor role, simply playing comic relief and standing in the background most of the time. This ends after the Blood Gulch Crew are reunited, and he plays a more significant role for the rest of The Chorus Trilogy.
- Psychopathic Manchild: He may be goofy, but he's far from harmless. However, this isn't played into him being evil, just as a really oblivious and often comical Team Killer. He's more like a "Mutually Dangerous Manchild" than anything else. Interestingly, Season 15 actually deconstructs this: thanks to Caboose's low intelligence and the Blood Gulch Crew's subsequent coddling of him, he is literally too immature to understand basic concepts like how death works, and it takes Temple, of all people, to tell him that when someone dies, they never come back.
- Rebuilt Pedestal: A couple of episodes after his Broken Pedestal moment with Epsilon-Church in Season 10, he comes rushing to his aid with everyone else, and goes back to practically worshipping the ground he walks on.
- Rookie Red Ranger: He's temporarily made the leader of Blue Team in Season 11 thanks to Freckles. It isn't official, as Washington sarcastically says he should hand leadership over to Caboose during an argument with Tucker, and nobody is in the mood to argue with a MANTIS assault robot when it takes him seriously, and Caboose at first humbly accepts the "nomination", but then eventually realizes he shouldn't be placed in a position of command.
- Sanity Slippage: After suffering from brain damage when Omega is ejected from his mind, Caboose goes from mildly dimwitted to almost completely divorced from reality and legitimately insane. However, later episodes have implied that he's always been this crazy.
- Saying Sound Effects Out Loud:
Caboose: Sneaking. Sneaking. Sneaking. Sneaking.
- In Season 10 Episode 12, while sneaking up behind Wash. It makes him something of a Highly Visible Ninja.
- He also did this when he snuck into Red Base's holo-deck during Recreation. Amusingly, Grif was the only one to notice.
- Series Mascot: While sometimes the series is represented by Sarge and Church together (as they're the primary leaders of Red Team and Blue Team), Caboose is the most memorable character, with his endless quotable idiocy and adorable naivete. He is also the one most probable to get special episodes/PSAs and dedicated merchandise (including a plushie!).
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: "Self-Fulfilling Odyssey" heavily implies that he suffers from this in some fashion due to Church's deaths, with him claiming that "When someone dies, my brain likes to hurt me with memories."
- Shipper on Deck: As of "Change of Plans," he's apparently one for Washington and Carolina.Carolina: We have big news.
Caboose: (gasp) You and Wash are taking your relationship to the next level! I knew it, the writing was all over the walls!
- Shout-Out: He's one of two characters (the other being Donut) named after one of the randomly generated names assigned to temporary multiplayer profiles in Halo: Combat Evolved.
- Simpleton Voice: While he didn't start with it, Joel Heyman eventually evolved Caboose's voice into a high-pitched one that makes it clear that he's a moron.
- Status Quo Is God: Season 11, Episode 15 has Wash give Caboose a Mark V helmet - the same one he constantly wore in the Halo 3 engine.
- Stealth Pun: According to The Ultimate Fan Guide, Caboose hails from Earth's Moon. In other words, he's a lunatic.
- Suddenly SHOUTING!: He's prone to SUDDENLY YELLING AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS!
- Super Gullible: Like you wouldn't believe. Sarge once got him to look away by literally saying that he heard a noise behind him.
- Super Mode: When he's able to work himself into a killing frenzy, he's terrifying. He immediately forgets how to do this, by the way (which honestly might be for the best).
- Super Strength: He doesn't have any known enhancements, and his strength's still not to the level of Tex, but he's often stated as being very strong. The Blues have theorized that it's "God's way of compensating" for his low intelligence. He has actually proven to be stronger than her on a number of occasions; she has to ask him for help moving something (although that was because she was currently stuck in an inferior robot body compared to the older one she used during the Project Freelancer Saga), he flips a Warthog with ease in the finale of Recreation, fights the army of Texas Drones with little to no effort in Season 10, and in the Training Montage during Season 12, he comes in first when running and beats everyone else when doing push-ups by a wide margin. Additionally, when he enters an area where gravity was increased tenfold in Season 13, he doesn't even notice. In Season 16, when charging at one of the Battle Creek Reds, he hit him with golf club so hard that not only was he flung across the room, but pinballed across the room as well when he hit a few obstacles.
- Talkative Loon: Becomes more prevalent in later seasons, where hes prone to rambling nonsense at length and spurting out non-sequiturs.
- Team Killer: He often (accidentally) kills his own allies. Tucker once jokes that he couldn't hear what Caboose just said "over the sound of your constant team killing".
- This Is Gonna Suck: After initially freaking out, he awkwardly mutters "Uh oh..." when he realizes that Sheila is about to shoot Church and he can't do anything to stop her.
- Through the Eyes of Madness: The few times Church spends inside of his mind shows Cabooses perception of the world is markedly different from reality. Among the more outlandish things he believes is that Sister is Churchs twin brother from the moon, Sarge is a pirate, and that Agent Washington is a superhero named "Agent Washingtub" with "Freelancer powers". The dubiously canon 360 episode "The Flag" gives more insight to Caboose's view of the world: it's filled with delusions and can become almost completely divorced from reality at times, but he can still partially comprehend some of what's going on around him and focus on certain instructions.
- Took a Level in Badass: As the series goes on, Caboose becomes less and less of a liability to his teammates and becomes a more efficient combatant (though still quite goofy) when on the battlefield.
- Took a Level in Dumbass: Was originally written as merely somewhat foolish early in Season 1, but quickly became outright insane by Seasons 2 and 3. This has been attributed to Sheila's initial destruction, and later O'Malley's forced ejection from his mind. Later episodes seem to have somewhat retconned him as having always being this dumb, but still implying he suffered from some form of brain damage being a part of Blue Team, such as when he was tricked into thinking gasoline was lemonade, and kept on drinking it for years.
- Took a Level in Kindness: Downplayed. Caboose was always pretty nice, but in later seasons his virulent hatred and jealousy of Tucker gradually disappeared.
- Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: In Season 13, he confronts an alien A.I. he names "Santa", who was designed to test people to see if they're a "true warrior". Being an abnormally strong Fearless Fool, he easily passes both physical and mental challenges, and Santa spends a long period questioning Caboose. Upon seeing the rest of the Blood Gulch Crew, he immediately asks to talk with anybody else. And during the events of Singularity, the Labyrinth completely fails to make him kill himself, instead only making him feel hungry for pancakes.
- Tragic Keepsake: "Self-Fulfilling Odyssey" reveals that he took Alpha-Church's helmet as his own after he accidentally killed him in Season 1.
- Tranquil Fury: Caboose, of all people, showcases this when talking to Genkins!Church in "Self-Fulfilling Odyssey". After politely asking Genkins to leave his dead best friend's body, he then growls with barely disguised rage "Put. Him. Down." When Genkins yet again dismisses this, Caboose furiously tackles him and starts beating the shit out of him.
- Unreliable Narrator: In the 360 episode "The Flag", which takes place completely from his perspective.
- Undying Loyalty: For all his teamkilling tendencies (that were nobody's fault!), he's also twice gone to the ends of the Earth to resurrect/rescue Church.
- Unstoppable Rage: Very rarely displayed, to the point Season 10 reveals he had forgotten how to get angry. But when he does, he's The Juggernaut. The Battle Creek Grunts and the Tex Drones both found this out the hard way.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: A one-sided example with Church. There is absolutely no vitriol from Caboose's end, but Church at some points seems to flat-out despise him and repeatedly snarks at and insults him even after he takes a level in kindness. He also develops this dynamic with Tucker later on in the series.
- Vocal Evolution: One of the most stark examples in the series, with Joel Heyman having Caboose go from sounding fairly normal during the majority of Season 1 to having his now-signature Simpleton Voice by the beginning of Season 3. His voice has also gotten deeper and slower/more lethargic in recent seasons.
- Walking Techbane: Caboose is actually very good at working with or repairing A.I.s, but anything else generally results in something being set on fire.
- Weapon of Choice: The MA5B/D Assault Rifle (outside of Seasons 3.5-5 where the Assault Rifle wasn't available).
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: He's always had shades of this, but it's best exemplified by his views on death. Church coming Back from the Dead so many times has made him believe that dead people will always come back to life if someone cares about them. Temple brutally shatters this belief when he reveals that Church is still dead and isn't coming back.
- With Catlike Tread: Caboose's idea of being stealthy is to either narrate aloud what he's doing, tell whoever he's spying on what he's doing, or fire his gun wildly while screaming at the top of his lungs.
- Yandere: He would literally kill to gain Church's love and attention.