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    Fridge Brilliance 

  • Why are the loading screens animated diagrams of your shuttle taking off and landing, the Normandy traveling through a mass relay or docking with a ship or station, and so forth? The Illusive Man is monitoring your activities.
  • Matriarch Aethyta, the Asari bartender on Ilium, talks about how nobody back on the homeworld wanted to listen to her counsel and guidance, so she went to Illium, a place where people would. What does she end up doing? Being a Bartender, who humans always ask for advice and guidance, or just to pour out their life story to. She's got the perfect job for someone trying to be an adviser.
  • Aethyta threatens to use a singularity on unruly customers. In 3, we find out that she is Liara's father. Liara is the only squad member besides a biotic Shepard who uses singularity.
  • You bust Jack out of Purgatory, a prison ship held by the Blue Suns. The gang may not seem important on first glance, but they are holding a female trained killer who can kill you with her brain. Yes, it is a Firefly Shout-Out, with the Blue Suns being the jackasses who are a large part of the Academy's funding/control. In another shoutout, Jack is a badass bald chick who is rescued from a maximum security prison).
  • The Collectors releasing the plague onto Omega. Not only would they have cleared Omega of non-humans so that they can harvest all the humans there if they had their way, but they would also have poisoned relations between humans and non-humans due to everyone thinking that humans caused the plague. Isolating humans from aliens in this way would it make it easier for Collectors to hunt humans throughout the entirety of the Terminus Systems.
  • The mechanic from Horizon blames Shepard and the Alliance for bringing the Reapers down on the colony, despite the fact that Shepard saved most of the colony and other neutral colonies are being targeted. Yes, he's a coward for not helping out, but Shepard and the Illusive Man both agree that it is too big a coincidence that the Collectors target a colony where one of Shepard's former crew is stationed, so technically he had a point.
  • The principal villains of the game are the Collectors. You could buy a limited Collector's Edition, whereupon you got the Collector's armor as a bonus. It's not an edition for collectors, it's the edition of the Collectors.
  • Jack's design seems too over the top at first. However, it is common for abuse survivors to get tattoos and piercings as a way to reassert control over their own body.
  • Coming back from the dead, the title "Spectre" suddenly fits Shepard so well.
  • If you buy an upgrade from a store, you don't need to research it, unlike all other upgrades. The stores would rapidly go out of business if the buyer had to build it themselves, so you're buying the complete product from the get-go.
  • One of the first things you behold upon entering Omega is a line of people queued in front of an elcor doorman. Elcor are ideal doormen; they're polite, reasonably perceptive, armored far beyond the ability of some heckler to injure them, and are willing to sit through a fourteen-hour production of Hamlet, so arguing with the same guy for half an hour until he gives up is nothing for them.
  • Garrus' loyalty mission:
    • If you confront Sidonis, he seems genuinely ashamed and guilty of his actions in betraying Garrus' squad. At first, it seems like he is trying to save his skin, but check the Codex entries on turians. Betrayal of the team and refusing to own up to your mistakes and actions - like Sidonis did, by fleeing and hiding - is a deep taboo among the turians. No wonder the guy is so torn up about it.
    • Garrus will reluctantly forgive Sidonis if pushed by Shepard, because Sidonis confesses and owns up to his mistakes (another huge thing for turians).
    • Goes the other way for Garrus. Turian culture puts the stigma of a subordinate's incompetence, failures, or otherwise unsuitability on the heads of those who promoted them to that responsibility, as they made the mistake of putting someone in a position that they are incapable of handling or simply can't be trusted with. Garrus doesn't just blame the deaths of ten of the finest men he's ever worked with on Sidonis - it's common for officers in today's military to suffer severe psychological trauma upon their units taking heavy casualties. It'd be even worse for a turian. Thus, we know why Sidonis' betrayal is eating so heavily on Garrus - to a turian, the treachery is as much Garrus' fault as Sidonis'. That's why taking out Sidonis is so important to Garrus; he doesn't just want revenge, he wants absolution for his own errors in judgment. It's subtle, but you can see it in Garrus, both in body language and voice.
  • The Collectors and humanity:
    • They start to capture human colonists en masse to create a new Reaper based on humanity. This makes a lot of sense considering the Battle of the Citadel and Sovereign Nazara's destruction. With the Reaper fleet stranded in dark space after the death of their (presumably) only vanguard, a Reaper based on defiant and promising humans would be the perfect replacement and pave the way to the inevitable invasion. But Shepard comes back from death and destroys that too, leaving the Reapers no choice but to power up and charge headlong into the galaxy to unleash hell.
    • Not only that, but the novels drop a small hint about Collectors being interested in human biotics. They're trying to make new Reapers out of human genetic material. Reapers integrate biological material with element zero based technology, and Biotics are a perfect group of subjects to test the synthesis. This is also the whole reason behind littering the galaxy with eezo-based technology; they want to see how other species react to eezo to judge how compatible they are with Reaper technology.
    • Then you've got Cerberus, a human-supremacist organization with an unhealthy obsession for manipulating human genetics to make supermen, maximizing human biotic potential, and Reaper technology. Along with a newfound raging hard-on to kill Shepard according to 3's developers. Borderline Fridge Horror if you consider Shepard can deliver to them their very own Human-Reaper factory in the end of 2, and would then be the only person standing in the way of Cerberus constructing their own Reaper.
    • Plus, as far as can be told, the Reapers only harvest one or two species from each cycle into new Reapers. With the massive screw-ups that have plagued this cycle, why wait until the Reapers get there to start building?
  • So, hey, the credits are pretty nifty and all, with that awesome music playing in the background as you're reading that white text against a black background with gold section headers... wait a second. That's Cerberus colors!
  • Speaking of colors, after completing a loyalty mission, the unlocked armor of that squadmate consists of a generic badass black color-scheme. At first, everyone was original and the different colors made everyone seem more individual. But as you complete more and more loyalty missions, your loyal squad members start to look similar. It symbolises that they're becoming part of the team. Particularly noticeable with Garrus and Tali, who are changing to fit in with Cerberus but retain enough individuality to show that their loyalty lies with Shepard first.
  • Anyone notice the model designs in the prologue are from the prequel. It's especially apparent with Joker; the new character models are shown off after the credits.
  • Legion's theme music contains hints of the Mass Effect geth theme.
  • Shepard dies in the suicide mission if their entire team does because, with Joker too weak and brittle, there's no one who can pull them up after their leap onto the Normandy. They hold onto the edge, but the Collectors manage to shoot Joker, making him drop Shepard anyway. This doesn't happen if two teammates survive: Joker can provide cover fire while one of the squadmates pulls Shepard up. When Joker is alone, no one can give covering fire and the Collectors can take their time to properly hit something.
  • If Shepard chooses Morinth instead of Samara during the latter's loyalty mission, Morinth will join the squad. At the end of the game, you're given the option to have sex with Morinth, but it obviously leads to Shepard going Out with a Bang. A common belief is Shepard would have to be stupid to have sex with Morinth, but it actually makes sense. Morinth puts her victims in More Than Mind Control and has an absolute obsession with winning. Shepard is the one person who ever escaped her grasp. So essentially, she was biding her time until Shepard finally fell under her control.
  • Why would a Renegade Shepard choose Morinth over Samara? Samara's already said that after the mission's over, their actions will force her to kill them.
  • When you find out that Archangel is actually Garrus and he's been holding off wave after wave of mercenaries, mech soldiers, and elite hitmen for days, you might just assume that Garrus Took a Level in Badass, right? Except if you talked to Garrus frequently in the first game, you find out that he was originally hand-picked as someone who would make a good Spectre candidate. Of course he was able to take fifteen Levels In Badass in the sequel — he could have been the turian Shepard, and he's embracing his innate Spectre talents!
  • The name of LOKI mechs is pretty funny when you realize that they're constantly glitching out and betraying you.
  • Legion and hacking:
    • When talking to Legion, Shepard mentions off-hand that the geth are immune to hacking. However, in what would normally look like a case of Gameplay and Story Segregation, the AI Hacking ability works on them just like any other Mecha-Mooks. It isn't until you think about why the geth are hack-proof that it makes sense. Their programming acts like a giant wiki, or a subversion repository like GitHub (GethHub?). If a couple of geth programs start acting weird, they can just replace them with older, unhacked versions. The reload, however, takes time, which is why the AI Hacking ability works, if only for a few seconds. Non-geth synthetics have anti-virus software or internal backups which accomplish pretty much the same purpose.
    • Why can Fenris, Loki and Ymir mechs be hacked for only a few seconds too? When a Loki gets hacked, it briefly squawks "viral attack detected". These mechs most likely have their own countermeasures installed. Since their programming is very simplistic compared to geth, backups can be stored onboard.
    • In the Shadow Broker's Dossiers, Legion is a huge gamer. Not because they found it fun, but rather it was a means of Psychic Static. One way for Legion to counteract that is to delegate a set of programs to be playing video games, another set to combat function, and the rest to deal with annoying AI intrusion, switched regularly of course. It was only during the whole conversation with EDI were they able to get a relevant log related to Legion. More than that, Legion used a video game to funnel significant funding towards the rebuilding of Eden Prime. Whether Legion feels genuine remorse or is just trying to distance the actions of the Heretics from the main body of geth is up to debate.
  • While Anyone Can Die in the second game, no squadmates actually affect the post-game except for Mordin. You no longer have the brilliant scientist operating the tech lab, so all your upgrades suddenly require 50% more resources to get.
  • Mordin's loyalty mission:
    • The entire mission pushes his deep morality to the limit, especially if Shepard is Paragon and chooses to argue with him. His main justification for enacting the genophage is judging an entire species by their reputation and biology. However, one of the main points of the game was never to judge a person by their species or race, and instead individually. It doesn't completely invalidate his position, but it does make it even more deliciously complex, even more so considering it's juxtaposed with Wrex's work.
    • The most shocking part is that, if pushed enough, Mordin gives his main reason for perfecting the genophage: The simulations did not show krogan immune to the genophage taking over the Galaxy. They showed turians and humans committing genocide against the krogan. Mordin didn't fear the krogan; he didn't trust his very own civilization. Had the genophage 2.0 not been designed, chances are that the Alliance, Cerberus, or both, would have tasked Shepard with slaughtering the Krogan.
    • In the third game, his suspicions are confirmed somewhat, when it is discovered that the turians planted a hyper yield bomb under a heavily populated area as a backup if the Krogan became troublesome again. Would the Alliance have gone through with genocide? Probably not. But Cerberus would have.
    • Also, between the mission and the Codex entries on salarians, it's clear that the salarians used the genophage to reshape Krogan society to be like their own. Males must compete for the right to mate, while females have more power because of it.
  • Mordin in the suicide mission:
    • Mordin dies easily in the suicide mission even if he's loyal. Talking to Mordin often reveals that he worked with Captain Kirrahe, who you encountered on Virmire in the first game. Mordin remarks that while the captain's "Hold the line" speeches were impressive, he personally hates it. He is the most likely squadmate to die if left to hold the line during the suicide mission.
    • Meanwhile, his powers are all geared toward taking out individuals or small groups; he moves fast and he's not very durable. This makes him a perfect choice for moving rapidly through enemy territory (like escort duty for the crew), but not particularly useful in an extended battle due to his lack of heavy weapons or armor.
    • Beyond that, Mordin states he's in the last decade of his life, a fact that's reinforced by his decision to retire from STG. He's old and therefore less likely to survive severe injury.
    • Furthermore, it's evidence that you can't just check off the loyalty missions and expect everyone to survive the suicide mission; you need to be logical and assign roles based on your squad's strengths, weaknesses, and personalities.
  • Miranda and her design:
    • Miranda makes a big deal of how she was "designed to be perfect" and that hasn't really made her life significantly better. It's easy to take this at face value as An Aesop against the limitations and potential misuse of genetic engineering, but then you realise there's a a double, out-of-universe, meaning. Miranda is a Sentinel: she can use both Warp and Overload, making her effective against enemies with all four types of protection. Her passive boosts the entire squad's weapon damage and health points. She also gets the most powerful Advanced ability in terms of raw damage; Slam can one-hit kill Collectors, and its cooldown is one second. And she's one of only two squadmates that can max out three abilities instead of just two. Miranda literally was designed to be the perfect squadmate.
    • It gets weirder. Remember how her only flaw was that she was infertile? Why would her father care if she can have children, when he can demonstrably make more of her if he so chose? She joined Cerberus to get away from her father, who is later shown in ME3 to be a member. Her original duty was to resurrect Shepard to be exactly as they were before death, using technology that had to be exceedingly close to her own creation. It's even possible, depending on when her father was indoctrinated, that she wasn't designed to be "perfect" for humanity, her father, or Cerberus, but for the Reapers themselves: if they ever captured her, they'd unlock one of the most powerful biotics around and the cloning technology used to make her (and, therefore, the tech to make a Reaper out of her alone).
    • Miranda's infertility comes back around to Fridge Horror when you realize it's probably not that her father cares if she can have children, he cares who she has them with. Remember, he engineered them to make his "dynasty". It's very likely deliberately another way to control his daughters, like some twisted form of genetic copyright.
  • Jack often calls Miranda the "Cerberus Cheerleader". What is Miranda's unique ability? Improving the damage and HP of the entire squad. So Jack was right: Miranda is actually a cheerleader.
  • Why don't people respond in panic if Shepard brings Legion onto the Citadel? A) Legion has a giant hole in them; B) Legion is wearing N7 armor; and C) It's in the company of Shepard, a Spectre and war hero who saved the Citadel and would never do something like bringing geth onto the Citadel, or signing on with Cerberus, or bringing the rachni back, etc. It's quite obvious that whatever Legion is, they aren't a geth, at least not after a moment's observation. Besides, maybe most people haven't actually seen geth, and the ones who have may be so traumatized that in their imaginations, the geth look entirely different. They really don't infiltrate... intentionally.
  • In the Shadow Broker timeline on Cerberus, there's an entry reading "Cerberus begins to infiltrate the human media." Who might have an interest in Khalisa al-Jilani keeping her job?
  • Why do Legion and Tali have the same powers? Because the quarians built the geth, so they are going to have the same base traits (Higher shield levels, tech-based skills etc.) Secondly, quarians hate the geth because they forced them off of the homeworld. The races aren't compatible, so the individuals aren't compatible. Meanwhile, putting multiple combat drones downrange draws enemies away from them, their weapon selections are perfectly complimentary (shotgun and sniper rifle), Legion can tank with the best while Tali screws with enemy shields (assuming they're both loyal). Throw in Squad Warp Ammo as your advanced training and even barriers aren't an issue anymore. They make perfect teammates... if Shepard can convince them to get along.
  • The gameplay changes seem odd, until Jacob mentions that he wanted to leave the Alliance because they were too inefficient and never took action. The gameplay reflects who you're working for, so of course Cerberus will have you on more action-orientated missions. Everyone in the party either fought alongside Shepard against Saren or has the traits or experience to account for it. The only exception is Mordin, who resultantly dies the easiest in the suicide mission.
  • Afterlife and theme naming:
    • The nightclub Afterlife just seems like a random name for a bar/stripclub, right? Well no, because it gets its name from the mined-out space station it resides on, Omega. The name Omega often alludes to the end of everything- life, death, etc.- and Afterlife is something of a beginning (at least to the people who go there).
    • Shepard dies, comes back, and goes to Afterlife to pick up Archangel.
    • Who rules Afterlife? Aria, voiced by Carrie-Anne Moss. Trinity. Like she says, she is Omega and presumably the Alpha as well.
    • In the comics, Afterlife was where Liara went to recover Shepard's body and give it to the Cerberus scientists.
    • And then you go to Purgatory to pick up Jack. Purgatory is where Aria is waiting for her chance to take back Omega and where those souls who aren't truly good or truly evil must wait and pay for their sins before they can move on to the afterlife. It fits Aria on so many levels.
    • And later, to help Miranda... you go to Eternity.
  • Miranda makes a great deal out of her genetic enhancements, complaining that a lot is expected of her and she doesn't view her achievements as her own because of it. A contributing factor to this is the extremes her father went to to ensure she was "perfect", up to and including disposing of those who weren't up to his standards. In the Lair of the Shadow Broker, however, you access Shadow Broker dossiers on your squadmates, which reveal sometimes hilarious and sometimes terribly sad facts about your squad. Miranda doesn't hate her genetic enhancements out of sense of worthlessness; she hates them because it might be the reason she can't naturally have children.
  • As Shepard escapes the Collector Base, Harbinger speaks directly to them. It's revealed that Harbinger wasn't the Collector general, but rather the Reaper controlling him like the others. The bit about Shepard having failed seems like traditional villain chest pounding, especially since Shepard is inside the Normandy at this point and can't hear it. However, the Reaper isn't trying to intimidate Shepard; it's speaking to the general, admonishing him before his death.
    • By admitting that Shepard has shifted the Reapers' focus to Humanity, he also admits that Shepard has changed things. Had Shepard failed, the Reapers likely would have chosen the Asari to harvest for this cycle, seeing as they are the most advanced of the Council races. Without Shepard's accomplishments, Humanity would have continued to be seen as just another upstart and pretender race to the Reapers rather than a race with serious potential.
  • The background of the menu is the interior of the Normandy. The menu is Kelly's station. Combine that with full access, Cerberus Network terminal, the Illusive Man's reports to some PTB as mission conclusions, the fact that the gameplay itself is a record and the fact that Kelly was hand-picked by him for extra paranoia. And that DLC you download from EA's Cerberus Network? More gifts from the Illusive Man.
  • Remember the song 'The Attack', which plays during the Normandy SR 1's destruction? It plays several more times; it's practically a leitmotif for the Collectors, and picks up bigtime during both fights against the Praetorians on Horizon and the Collector Ship. Excluding interference with the Cain, the fights are extremely hard, even if you have the right skills to destroy their Armor and Barriers. Finally, it plays when you fight the Human-Reaper Larva. The song evokes the bitter memory of frustration and hopelessness as you see the Normandy get sliced up around you. And now you're facing against a non-stop horde of Collectors and a Reaper, one of the Big Bad who orchestrated the Normandy's destruction and Shepard's death. Once the song plays again, it mashes the intended Berserk Button. Not only that, but the Collectors now drop tons of thermal clips and heavy weapons ammo, giving your hatred no limit to properly exact your revenge.
  • Thane is one of the last to die if the team's "hold the line" score doesn't pass, for a few reasons. He has a natural damage boost which makes him very formidable against organic foes, and has an ammo power that makes hitting organic enemies even harder. His religious devotion includes a goddess who he prays to for defense, which makes him a good candidate for holding the line. Thane is also a sniper; sniping is an excellent defensive fire tactic. Plus, he's a stealth expert; even if everyone else bites it, Thane will be perched up someplace that the Collectors can't find him, picking them off one at a time. Thane's skills are completely anti-Collector; sniper rifles are good against armor, submachine guns are good against barriers, and his biotics will tear right through Collector barriers. The guy was brought in for the sole purpose of eliminating Collectors.
  • If Shepard goes the Paragon route in Garrus' loyalty mission, they stand between Sidonis and Garrus to prevent Garrus from shooting him... until Sidonis leans against a railing. Pay close attention and you'll notice that Shepard is giving Garrus a shot, and Garrus isn't taking it. Garrus wants Shepard to give him one last chance to shoot Sidonis, even though he already has a clear shot. Garrus is putting some serious thought into this decision.
    • Actually, it can be a hint that Shepard is changing Garrus' mind and making him not want to kill Sidonis. Why does he then ask anyway for a chance to shoot? To seek denial and therefore acceptance from Shepard. To simply and naively "forgive" would be too hard on him, but letting another stop you is a different matter entirely. Not to mention that this sacrifice means building an unique relationship, one of trust. And this trust is on the deepest of levels to - level of ideals and personal virtue.
  • The green circuit board shown during the bypass minigame may seem like a decorative frill, until you figure out that all the links follow the electric circuits and never deviate. Once you learn the internal logic, it becomes possible to win it every time without ever double-checking what symbols are actually hidden underneath the selectable dots or making any errors.
  • The reprogramming vs. destroying of the Geth Heretics; the renegade option has Shepard destroy them, while the paragon option has Shepard brainwash them. While paragon vs. renegade seems to boil down to nice guy vs. jerk, it's actually more complicated. Paragon actions tends to benefit allies over humanity, and vice versa for Renegade options. Therefore, reprogramming the Heretics is clearly the paragon option, because it turns a great enemy into a potential ally, while the renegade option simply removes a threat. Also, if you listen carefully to Legion, it becomes clear that releasing the virus won't force the Heretics to come around to the rest of the geth's way of thinking. It instead just creates a compulsion for them to return to the geth homeworld and integrate their experiences with the rest of their race. So all you're really doing by reprogramming is forcing the Heretics and the geth to come together, confront their differences, and build a consensus.
  • The 'biotic god' volus is actually a powerful biotic due to the drugs the Eclipse gave him. They're just not stupid enough to give him a biotic amp.
  • Why is the Harbinger codex entry only unlocked for preserving the Collector Base? It's the first of the rewards being reaped.
  • When you first encounter the Collectors on Horizon, they seem to be little more than generic identical Mooks blindly rushing into battle. Then it is revealed later by Mordin and EDI that the Reapers engineered them to be exactly that: Expendable servants with no sense of individuality and self-preservation. Just like any husk.
  • During the final boss fight of Overlord, geth pop out of thin air to slow Shepard down. A few minutes earlier, David hacked Shepard's omni-tool and is basically controlling them. The geth also vanish when they die, implying they don't physically exist. They do, and they are real geth. But they're programs, not platforms. David is sending the few remaining programs to Mind Rape Shepard.
  • In Lair of the Shadow Broker, Liara starts with all four powers unlocked. This isn't just because she is only a party member for just this set of missions; Liara has always been loyal to Shepard.
  • The chef selling ramen noodles as a 'delicacy' seems like a quick jab at people taking advantage of tourists by fooling and scamming them. However, when you think about delicacies like lobster and escargot, they both started as food people only ate when they were too poor or desperate to get anything else. So maybe he's telling the truth? Alternatively, ramen wasn't originally freeze-dried noodles in a plastic bag. In Japan, you can get ramen with high quality pasta and everything from pork to hard boiled eggs prepared for you by a master chef.
  • Joker's throwaway line about "plugging in the Overlord" isn't a case of Harsher in Hindsight given the Project Overlord DLC. It's actually an indicator that canonically, Shepard deals with Overlord before they try to use the Reaper IFF. Joker's not giving some unintentionally prophetic line, he's cracking a tasteless joke about a past experience because he's stressed out. Supported by talking to him after the fall of Thessia in Mass Effect 3, where he cracks a tasteless joke to Shepard about how the asari must be wishing they had more commandos instead of dancers right about now.
  • When Joker gives EDI access to all of the Normandy's controls, he mutters, "Now I'll be spending all day computing pi because I plugged in the overlord." Obviously, this refers to how A.I.s are thought to conquer organics without a second thought, but it has a second meaning. In the final battle of the Overlord DLC, if Shepard takes too long, David will upload to the Normandy and take over EDI, who has full control over the ship. In effect, the Overlord was plugged in and Joker is now useless, relegated to computing pi and the square root of 912.04.
  • There's actually a fair bit of logic in the abilities of the squadmates; Garrus remains an Infiltrator swap, so he has a combat ability and a tech ability; Legion is a geth who not only has a sniper but whose powers consist of hacking other robots or providing fire support; Miranda was bred to be perfect, so she's the only squadmate who can take down all four forms of defense; Mordin is a scientist specializing in organics, so he has the two tech powers useful against organics; Tali grew up with a father who wanted war with the geth, and thus has abilities that take down shields and hack synthetics; Thane is an assassin, so he has the biotic abilities dedicated to killing people instead of crowd control; and Zaeed has spent most of his life trying to take down the Blue Suns, who all use Shields, with disruptor ammo. However, Jack is the absolute best; some in-universe consider biotics to be an evolution of humanity, some kind of higher form of existence. To use Harbinger's words, biotics are humanity's genetic destiny. Harbinger constantly taunts Shepard with these words, and it is eventually revealed that his idea for humanity's genetic destiny involves either being turned into a Reaper or becoming a slave race like the Protheans. Jack is the most powerful human biotic in the galaxy. In other words, she has already reached humanity's genetic destiny, with Shockwave (best move for taking down husks) and Warp Ammo (specifically designed to take down barriers, armor and health). These are the only form of defense that the Collectors use.
  • In Grunt's recruitment mission, a tank-bred krogan helps Shepard defeat the Blue Sun mercenaries. Notice that when the krogan confronts Shepard face-to-face, his head is right about the height of their chest, making it look like he's looking at Shepard's tits (if she's female). He is only a week old; of course he'd be shorter than any of the krogan Shepard has met!
  • Fans might be disappointed that Seth Green didn't reprise his role as Joker for the Arrival DLC. He's completely silent, even when the Normandy arrives to extract Shepard. However, Joker knew that at the very least he was saving Shepard from an asteroid about to smash into a mass relay, something that is depicted as a rather grave event. He may have also known about the Reapers and how they were minutes away. Given this, it's understandable in-universe that Joker would remain silent and concentrate on saving Shepard.
  • Check out the Sentinel’s Biotic abilities, Warp and Throw. What do they have in common? They get made more powerful from other abilities; Warp detonates Biotic abilities and Throw hits harder if your enemy if floating. They don't have the ability to take advantage of these perks (especially noticeable when so many biotic abilities can be used), making them seem poorly chosen. However, Sentinels are designed to be team players; they make their team mates more effective by stripping the enemy's defences. Their teammates make the Sentinel more effective too. Along these same lines, Sentinels also have a limited weapon selection bare Tech Armor, making them great tanks for the team. But the damage output is weakened, thus fitting them into the team mentality even tighter.
  • If Shepard ends up being unable to resist Morinth in Samara's loyalty mission, why do they automatically choose to aid Samara? Because Shepard cannot resist Morinth, and realises that if they let Samara die, Morinth would be immediately able to put on the moves, seduce Shepard, and kill them. Even a Renegade Shepard realises this; though Samara may present a future problem, the hypnotic sex vamp is the bigger danger at this point. That also explains why you need a maxed out Paragon/Renegade bar to make the choice in the first place - only the most badass Shepard can resist Morinth and be able to bring her along.
  • If Jacob is asked what's missing on the Normandy, he complains about the lack of a bar. Kasumi's personal quarters has a bar and entertainment lounge, and her haikus are all focused on Jacob. By setting up shop in there, she's forcing him to come to her if he wants a drink.
  • Previously, there were individual cooldowns for different abilities and powers, but now all the powers and abilities have become greatly improved; everything from their functionality, overall power, and especially their cooldowns. So much so that they would require greater focus and energy, and make it impossible for the user to be able to muster up the strength to safely perform another action. Possibly even further, that focus is not gone, but being used quicken the cooldown overall. Thus, greater combat presence at the cost of a global cooldown.
  • So, why does it appear that Humans Are Special now? Well, they weren't. Until Shepard came along. Originally, Saren made turians the candidate by working alongside Nazara. Then Shepard showed up, kicked his ass, and got Nazara killed. By humans, no less. At this point, the Reapers made the practical decision of picking humans instead, since they've obviously shown their dominance. Then add to the fact that Shepard died and came back to foil their plans even more. Humans Are Special because Shepard made them special.
    • It also points out a major flaw in the Reaper's philosophy. Their supposed "existence beyond comprehension" makes it impossible for them to see the worth and potential of an individual. When they see Shepard destroy one of their own, they attribute it to humanity's genetic makeup rather than Shepard's own determination, hence why they try to build a Reaper out of humans. But we know from Grunt and Miranda that having perfect genes isn't all that it's cracked up to be. Miranda even says outright that Shepard has something that she could never emulate. It seems that experience determines ability and not genetics, which is something the Reapers still don't understand. Shepard could have been any other species, and they would still be just as Badass.
  • Wrex is uniting all of the krogan tribes under his rule, which takes on a new meaning when you remember 'Rex' is Latin for king.
  • Shepard can keep a fish tank in their quarters, but has to feed them after every mission to keep them alive. In other words, they have a lifespan of a single mission before they die without Shepard's intervention. The Normandy crew ends up in that very situation after being captured by the Collectors. If Kelly Chambers is spoken to enough (ie gaining her loyalty), she eventually offers to feed Shepard's fish, enabling them to focus on bigger issues. Just like how the squadmates whose trust and commitment is gained contribute in the Collector Base, enabling Shepard to focus on bigger issues.
  • When scanning the planet Jacob's loyalty mission is on, there's a massive deposit of element zero right at the location of the crashed ship. At first it seems unusual, since element zero is usually found only on the "post-garden" planets, but it was coming from the ship!
  • Warden Kuril's name? "Cure ill", the very thing he imagines himself to be doing.
  • Notice the wall designs of Afterlife: Fire holovids. You are in Hell — literally.
  • It may seem stupid for the scientists to just leave the Reaper artifact lying about in Arrival, as Shepard points out. But who would have been the first people to fall to indoctrination? The people who spent the most time around it. Yes, the people responsible for making sure it wasn't just lying about.
  • After doing a couple of side quests for Liara on Illium, you get the option to tell her to not 'turn into the thing you're hunting', which refers to the Shadow Broker. Well, let's just say it's really ironic...
  • The Shadow Broker using Nyxeris (i.e., "The Observer") as a double agent. If he had succeeded in his plan, he would have accomplished three things: One of five contacts he wanted gone would be dead and he could deny involvement; Liara, a person who had been hunting him, would be gone; and having Nyxeris kill Liara immediately after she ordered a hit on one of his men would maintain his reputation as someone not to be trifled with. Three birds with one stone.
  • Sidonis' betrayal:
    • How many of Archangel's squad was killed because of Sidonis' betrayal?. Ten. Discounting DLC, how many squad members put their lives in Shepard's hands during the suicide mission? Ten. We know that Garrus was considered for Spectre status, but turned it down. Tragically, it's like he consistently tries and fails to be like Shepard.
    • Garrus was unable to prevent Sidonis from turning on him. Shepard, with enough persuasion, was able to convince Wrex not to turn on them in anger on Virmire.
    • Why did Archangel fail in his mission to clean out Omega? Because he didn't gain the loyalty of his entire squad.
    • It's safe to say that Shepard is Garrus' Foil- especially if Shep is a paragon. Note that the Shadow Broker's dossier on Garrus essentially says that being under Shepard's command is actually stunting his own development as a leader.
  • Archangel:
    • The next time you recruit Garrus, check around the base. Those covered dead bodies? Those were his squad.
    • You can actually tell the story of the squad by their placement. On the upper floor are two covered bodies; if you talk to Garrus after the mission, he states that "when I got back there were two left... and they didn't last long". Downstairs are the bodies of the remaining team, organized rather neatly in a row; this implies that they dragged their comrades to the same spot as they gradually fell during the attack. But the ones upstairs aren't aligned at all, which implies that they were pushed upstairs due to lower numbers, and that Garrus effectively had to chuck some covers over them and get back to fighting after he found them.
    • The casualty count of the suicide mission, if done wrong, can match or even surpass that of Garrus' squad. That Garrus comes back to find only two of his squad alive can also be compared to how Shepard needs two squad members alive to survive the suicide mission.
  • There is a huge theme of death, life and resurrection:
    • Shepard dies and is resurrected, as is the Normandy. Both were resurrected by Cerberus. In Greek mythology, Cerberus, a three-headed dog, guards the gates of Hades. So one could infer that Cerberus wouldn't let Shepard or the Normandy pass the gates of Hades.
    • The first place Shepard goes to of their own volition is Omega, to Afterlife. To pick up Archangel and a doctor. Omega is the final letter of the Greek alphabet. Make of that what you will, but Omega is known to have a pretty high death rate.
    • Garrus—when first met, he's killing people. Not that unusual, except he's probably the only one (apart from possibly Thane) during his recruitment quest. Also, his vigilante name is Archangel. His loyalty mission deals with Sidonis, the traitor of his twelve-man team who is attempting to build a new life for himself on the Citadel. It is the end of Sidonis' new life; he is either killed by Garrus or turns himself in for his crimes.
    • Mordin—an elderly doctor who kills people. Kind of a paradox. His loyalty mission is about him discovering his student trying to reverse the genophage modification, which would allow all krogan females to be fertile and bear life.
    • Jack—has an enormous omega symbol on her back. Also, she's cryogenically suspended. Not permitted to either live or die. Her loyalty mission has her returning to the place where she was "born" as Subject Zero and erasing it. Shepard can also convince her to spare a fellow victim of the facility as a way for both of them to move on with their lives.
    • Samara—"Appointment in Samarra." In the original story, Death appears as a woman. Her loyalty mission has Shepard help her hunt and corner her daughter, who kills through mating.
    • Grunt—Grunt is the youngest squadmember, and practically a child compared to the other krogan Shepard meets. Also, he is born on the Normandy. In a sense, by Shepard themself. His loyalty mission is about him finding purpose, a life of his own outside of Okeer's intentions for him.
    • Thane—a dying assassin with a young son. His loyalty mission has him attempting to guide said son (Thane himself says Kolyat has "his body and soul... disconnected") into the right path and away from assassination.
    • The krogan and the quarians—both races are trying to restore (resurrect) themselves.
    • The Reapers in general—the ultimate death dealers, but it seems that they kill to create life.
    • Miranda's father engineered her to be "perfect". He wanted her (and/or her twin sister) to be the first of a genetic dynasty. In other words, he wanted a kind of immortality.
    • Legion is "disabled" and, for all intents and purposes, dead when Shepard recovers it on the "dead" Reaper. Activate it and it "resurrects" to give Shepard a mission to ensure that all heretic geth are either Killed Off for Real or mind wiped. Several other squadmates opine that mind wiping the heretics is just the same as killing them. Legion forces us to ponder what constitutes death. As a synthetic, it also forces us to question what constitutes life.
    • After his Loyalty Mission, Mordin gives an important talk on what constitutes true life. Are the Collectors alive? Are beings reanimated via synthetics alive? Do creatures that have no art, no expression, actually live?
  • Several moments in the soundtrack:
    • The background music during the biotic walk has a part at 2:37 that sounds almost exactly like the part at 5:48 of Samara's theme. At 1:05, the overall Mass Effect theme starts playing, using the instrumentation from the slow plodding march at the beginning of Jack's theme. Guess which squad members are excellent choices for that section?
    • The track called "Infiltration is played at three separate points: Tali's recruitment mission (fighting the geth drones), Legion's loyalty mission (holding the main room against a geth onslaught), and the vents run on the Suicide mission. Guess which two (barring DLC) are ideal candidates to run through the vents?
    • Also, the song that plays during the exploration of the Collector Ship is also played during the Normandy Crash DLC, and when freeing the survivors from their pods. The song is for all the people that the Collectors have killed or captured.
  • Why did Wilson go so far with the mech reprogramming at the Lazarus facility? Because he's trying to murder Shepard in the middle of a lab designed to bring the dead back to life. Shepard is brought in as a charred corpse and successfully resurrected, so no amount of drugs, poisons or even bullets would have worked; they'd have patched Shepard right up. In order to carry out the murder, he had to destroy everything: the staff, the notes, the tech... all of it. Only by razing the entire Lazarus Project to the ground would Shepard have truly been dead.
  • Liara needing Shepard’s help to uncover the identity of “The Observer.” The tell-tale sign that Nyxeris is The Observer is that all of her contacts are male and they refer to her as a “she.” The asari believe that gender is a meaningless detail so much that they might even translate terms such as "he" and "she" as the same word, so of course The Observer would never expect Liara to figure it out by herself, particularly since Illium is an asari-dominated world. The Observer might not have realized their own carelessness themself!
  • Aria's mission with the Patriarch:
    • After either giving the Patriarch newfound confidence in himself or talking him into a suicide charge, Aria rewards Shepard with info on a planet with stolen goods. Three YMIR mechs await there, trying to destroy both the goods and Shepard. It could be Aria's way of rewarding you or trying to kill you. Either way fits Aria perfectly.
    • Alternatively, Shepard survives (like always), but the smugglers manage to destroy at least a good number of the goods before Shepard can reap the rewards. In other words, Shepard and squad traveled all that way, used all that fuel, risked their lives, used all that ammo, and wasted all that time for a reward that wouldn't have covered the expenses. Maybe a little too passive-aggressive for Aria, but right up her alley humour-wise.
  • The Thanix Cannon was reverse-engineered from Sovereign, making its use against the Collectors deliciously ironic. The upgrade comes from Garrus, who loves to inflict Hoist by His Own Petard upon his opponents.
  • Haestrom:
    • A large reason why Tali's mission on Haestrom was such a bloodbath was because its layout is exactly what quarian soldiers are not trained for; wide-open spaces where staying out of cover for too long fries your electronics (including shields, which the quarians rely on for defense). They fare slightly better when hiding behind bottlenecks such as tunnel entrances, but without long range weapons they can't attack the geth at long-range (Kal'Reegar was the only one we saw with a ranged weapon, and he was the leader). The geth, on the other hand, have plenty of ranged weapons like rocket launchers and sniper rifles (not to mention the colossus' self-repair program), which would make the quarians easy pickings when they're all holed up in one place.
    • The fact that shields are completely useless on Haestrom because of the sun: One can recall that in the predecessor, Tali had the strongest shields in-game, making her virtually invincible if her stats are built upright. This is to make up for her being a quarian; they can only wear light armor, so they make up for it by integrating components on their hardsuits that strengthens shields. On Haestrom though, this backfires because of the radiation exposure from the system's unstable sun. Shields are useless and therefore make the quarian team easy pickings for the geth.
  • Why do the Collectors shift into high gear after Sovereign is destroyed? Because they're going to use the Human-Reaper to open up the Citadel Relay. The Reaper fleet was waiting for the Relay to be opened, and that isn't an option anymore.
  • So a badass sniper assembles a merry gang of people and it all goes swimmingly until he's betrayed by someone from within. He gets shot in the face, decides against dying from it, but wears both physical and psychological scars from the whole debacle. Oh, and he asks Shepard to help him track down and kill said traitor so he can focus on the mission. Basically, the only difference between Zaaed and Garrus is that Garrus had much more affection for his squad, to the point of blaming himself for trusting Sidonis enough to let the other turian do what he did. Similar things happen and they both want Shepard's help in getting revenge, but Garrus feels responsible for the people he led (even the traitor) and needs barely any nudging to recognize that it's wrong to hurt unrelated people in pursuit of revenge. Zaeed's motives are a lot simpler and more basic, and he doesn't have that empathy.
  • Why was the Shadow Broker so willing to work with the Collectors? Simple: he was thinking like a Yahg. It's said they serve those who firmly establish they're stronger with fearsome loyalty. The Collectors simply established their dominance and the Shadow Broker dared not challenge it.
  • The named relays. The Collectors are behind the Omega 4 Relay and the Reapers are trying to arrive through the Alpha Relay. The Alpha Relay is the beginning of the Reaper invasion and the Omega Relay leads to the end of the Collector invasion.
  • The "Fight for the Lost" slogan that was used in the advertisement (not to mention some of the plot) has some bizarre thematic parallels with this:
    Ezekiel 34:12-16: As a Shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. [...] I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will Shepherd the flock with justice.
  • When Shepard visits the Migrant Fleet, the quarians insist on calling them "Captain" instead of "Commander", based on their own customs and due to Shepard being the captain of their (and Tali's) ship. This is a mark of great respect amongst their people. Admiral Xen, arguably the least sympathetic of the Admirals, is the only quarian who doesn't know Shepard from elsewhere and that refers to them as "Commander". Snub on her part?
    • It could honestly be taken two ways: Xen is calling Shepard Commander either as a snub or to try and win Shepard over to get them on her side in the trial.
  • Why does a Paragon Shepard consistently disapprove of Zaeed during his loyalty mission? Zaeed's strategy (set a refinery on fire as a distraction) is the exact same one that led to Anderson figuring out Saren was rotten.
  • Wrex's comment when meeting him about hearing about Shepard and respecting them gains a lot of weight with the Sole Survivor backstory. The initiation into adulthood ritual of Clan Urdnot, Wrex's clan, is to survive going up against a single thresher maw, something the Sole Survivor previously did.
  • The lovestruck krogan and his asari paramour. During his fits of poetry, he calls her the "Blue Rose of Illium". Blue roses don't occur naturally, just as their relationship would not have. Blue roses are also symbolic of the unattainable and mysterious, and show desire for goals you cannot reach. They are also used to say "I can't have you, but I can't stop thinking about you." He wasn't just commenting on her skin color and beauty, he was making her into a symbol of everything he wanted but didn't think he could have.
  • Kasumi and the Shadow Broker are the only ones that use omni-tool based weapons. The Broker busts out an omni-shield and Kasumi has her Shadow Strike ability. Until close combat with Husks became a thing, everyone regarded the omni-blade as a fool's weapon. Who never leaves their quarters/control room and only expects to be fighting on their own turf with terrain designed to support a one-way shield? The Broker. Who needs to quietly take down someone (say a guard) without necessarily killing them and without setting off an alarm in order to steal something? Kasumi.
  • There is a news report that the hanar believe the kidnapping of human colonies is some sort of vengeance by the Enkindlers (A.K.A. the Protheans) for destroying the beacon. This may seem humorous, but in a weird way they are right. For starters, the Reapers may not have developed as much interest in humanity had Shepard not discovered the beacon and saved the galaxy. Now, with the collectors being revealed as modified Protheans, it seems a lot more like foreshadowing...
  • The abduction of the crew actually proves to be quite beneficial for minimizing random crew casualties during the journey to the base. If the crew was there, there would be a strong chance of losing random crewmates en route (from the Oculus or simply from random damage to the ship), which defeats the meaning of "No one left behind". Plus it's convenient for a Shepard who romances Miranda; no dirty comments from Donnelly.
  • Jacob can be seen as boring for being comparatively balanced compared to the rest of the crew, who are having semi-permanent residence on Dysfunction Junction. His loyalty mission comes and goes without much fuss. Then during the Shadow Broker DLC, the Broker notes that Jacob was clearly placed on the team as a stabilizing element. He was supposed to be relatively dull.
  • Why can't Garrus be romanced if he wasn't recruited in 1? FemShep tells Garrus she's not interested in Jacob: "I don't want someone closer to home...I want someone I can trust." By not recruiting Garrus, he hasn't earned that trust!
  • A renegade Shepard essentially becomes quite like Saren: cybernetic implants, glowing eyes, the option to let a refinery full of civilians burn in the name of completing the mission (see above). What Shepard is forced to do in the Arrival DLC is essentially a scaled-up version of what Balak tried to do in Bring Down The Sky. The reasons are different, but it's a Not So Different moment.
  • Miranda's reasons for quitting Cerberus in order to destroy the Collector Base are obvious. It's a monstrosity and no one, not even the Illusive Man, can be trusted with it. But depending on Shepard, there is another reason. In conversations with Miranda, a Paragon Shepard will constantly tell her that her genetic engineering doesn't make her great. Even if Miranda doesn't believe it herself, it appears as if that's the first time she heard that from anyone. Her father was strict and isolationist in terms of her upbringing and the Illusive Man had told her that her genetic engineering are what make her a valuable and promising operative. In other words, while others had only seen her for her artificially induced talents, Shepard is the first person to see her as a real person whose strength comes from her own personality and decisions, in spite of knowing her origins.
  • Why does the Alliance and by extension the Council not detain Shepard the minute they step onto the Citadel, debrief them about their supposed death and resurrection, run a few invasive scans to confirm all the trauma and cybernetic augmentation, then reinstate Shepard's officer rank and Spectre status and assign them to run of the mill ops in Citadel space? Because they recognize the threat that the Collectors pose to humanity, but can't act against them for the same reason they couldn't send fleets to Ilos. The Collectors are based and operating in the Terminus Systems, and sending Alliance or Council forces in there overtly could spark a war with the Terminus. Having Shepard work with Cerberus on the other hand allows the Alliance and Council an excellent way to plausibly deny operations in the Terminus. Cerberus is already a major player there, and one more operation of theirs isn't going to raise eyebrows. In order to keep this story plausible they warn Shepard not to re-enter and operate in Citadel space as it would undo the lie that all those ops are actually Cerberus, not the Alliance or Council.
    • The Citadel DLC actually reveals that the Council knew about the Reapers, but were hiding the evidence in order to prevent panic. So them using Shepard as a deniable asset against Reaper servants? Makes perfect sense!
  • Vido Santiago and the Blue Suns' peculiar leadership structure:
    • Why doesn't Vido go public about being the Blue Suns CEO, instead making some Batarian the public face of the company? Because he has no combat abilities and is quite the Dirty Coward, as revealed in Zaeed's loyalty mission's renegade ending. Zaeed also mentions that while Vido was a sadistic bastard, he only ran the books and never even once participated in an op. Most mercenaries would never take this kind of person seriously and would never agree to work for him. By putting a notorious slaver in charge, he can be The Man Behind the Man. The rank and file mercy have a notorious operational veteran they can rally behind, while Vido grows the business. This makes the Blue Suns on the surface similar to the asari commando fronted Eclipse and the Krogan Battlemaster fronted Blood Pack.
    • And this also explains why the Blue Suns are bigger, more powerful, more widespread and better organized than Eclipse or the Blood Pack. The leaders of the other two are soldiers who may be limited in their business acumen, while the Blue Suns are secretly being run by a corporate bean counter type.
  • Why doesn't Shepard encounter Praetorians in the Collector Base during the Suicide Mission? Because the base isn't a military garrison, it is actually a Reaper production facility. Such a facility primarily needs worker drones and heavy labor units, which the Collectors, husks and even the scions are. Praetorians on the other hand have no arms, cannot hold or move anything, and therefore are useless in Reaper construction. They are primarily a hovering weapons platform and are mainly used as artillery/air support during Collector strike operations. So once the Collector ship was destroyed, so were they.
  • Jack's repertoire of biotic abilities seems odd:
    • Why can't such a powerful biotic like her have Warp, Throw, Singularity, or Barrier? Or even Reave? It is when you examine these powers closely that you realize that they are not that powerful by themselves (Reave being an exception). Warp and throw by themselves aren't that devastating, but really pack a wallop when used in conjunction with another power. So is singularity, which just suspends people in midair waiting for others to pick them off. And Jack is an I Work Alone type who just wants to survive by inflicting a lot of damage. That is why she has Shockwave, a devastating attack that can score multiple kills; Pull, which draws her target closer so she can use her Shotgun; and Warp Ammo combined with a shotgun. The powers she has are all she needs to survive and get by.
    • She doesn't have Barrier because her personality is that the best defense is a good offense. She isn't the type to cast a barrier and soak up damage. She'd rather kill things.
    • Reave is something Jack may never be able to have because the only known person to have it most likely has Ardat Yakshi genes or even a very mild form of the condition herself. And humans can only produce garden variety serial killers, not Out with a Bang life force vampire types. Which might postulate that an ability to Reave, reinforced with black and white thinking if not outright sociopathy in purebloods, might be a screening factor for further pureblood progeny being Ardat Yakshi. Samara provides not one but three confirmations of this hypothesis, while Aria T'loak can Reave and is a confirmed sociopath. So how could she have spawned Liselle a normal asari? Because Liselle was conceived by Aria with Nyreen, a turian. So how can Shepard and Kaidan learn to Reave? Because Reave is essentially a warp field coupled with Neural Shock and simultaneous health regen for the caster. In Shepard's case, the omni tool can be programmed to link with the cybernetic implants, deliver a Neural shock when they generate a warp field, and regenerate Shepard's health. In Kaidan's case, he too had Neural Shock and health regeneration via First Aid. Isn't too much of a stretch for him to learn to warp, then hack his omni tool to deliver a similar jury rigged version of Reave. After all, he is a Sentinel - a biotic cross trained in tech.
  • Squadmate abilities or lack thereof explored further:
    • Only two squadmates, Garrus and Zaeed, have ammo or other powers to deal with all types of protection. Overload/Disruptor ammo against shields, Concussive shot against barriers, and Armor piercing rounds/Inferno grenades against armor and health. Prior to joining Shepard, they were primarily fighting mercenary gangs and therefore had to be prepared to deal with any kind of enemy.
    • While Legion doesn't have any explicit powers against different types of protections, its preferred repertoire of weapons actually does. As a geth, it would prefer a Geth Pulse Rifle, which is a high rate of fire weapon with Phasic jacket rounds. This weapon can easily shred shields and biotic barriers better than an SMG with disruptor ammo or warp fields. For armor, it has the Widow, which can punch through armor as effectively as a Mantis with armor piercing rounds. Once the target is down to health, the Widow can one shot it. Along with AI hacking, which is very effective against synthetics, this makes Legion able to handle any kind of enemy. The true geth are universally hated, after all; Organics hate them, as they are synthetics, while the heretic geth are also out to het them.
    • Samara has nothing to counter shields because as a justicar, she expects to operate mostly in asari space against other asari. And asari, being natural biotics, don't have shields.
    • Grunt also has no anti-shield capabilities because Okeer focused on old hatreds, presumably other Krogan. Krogan for the most part don't use shields, relying instead on armor and regenerating health with only the rare battlemaster biotics having barriers. And accordingly, Grunt can neutralize barriers with Concussive shot, then use incendiary ammo to burn through armor and stop even regenerating health. Okeer intended Grunt to be first and foremost a Krogan killer.
    • Upon closer examination of Jacob and Miranda's abilities, you will see that the pair are meant to complement each other. Jacob has Pull, which primes a target for Miranda's Warp. Also, Miranda's Warp or Overload strips away Barriers and Shields respectively, leaving only armor and health, which Jacob can kill with Incendiary ammo.
    • Thane also has no ability to take down shields. Not that he needs one, because he is a ninja like assassin, not a soldier. He blindsides most of his targets, likely when their shields are down. His ammo power is also intended primarily for unshielded organics. He has Warp and Throw to deal with normal obstacles; if his target is a biotic, Warp will eat through any barrier, while Throw is intended to keep any close range melee types at a distance. If someone is well shielded and well armored, someone like Thane will most likely not attack them at that point, waiting for them to let their guard down.
    • A close inspection of Mordin's abilities reveal that he functions best against armor and health. Incinerate will immolate any armor, but also has the ability to stop health regeneration. Cryo blast and Neural Shock are effective crowd control powers, making him ideal against Krogan enemies. It also explains him preferring the Carnifex - it is marketed specifically as a Krogan killer. The Krogan are the most likely people to target him, whether for modified genophage work or for just being what they despise the most: a salarian scientist.
  • Garrus is constantly calibrating the Normandy's guns for a series of valid reasons:
    • Although the Thannix cannon was intended for frigates, this Normandy is not one. She is twice the size and is a very unique stealth frigate. Since the Thannix fires molten metal, it needs to have a reservoir of that melt onboard. And all that intense heat needs to be winked, lest it give away Normandy's position. Also, the cannons and molten metal reservoir add weight that the Tantalus drive core needs to adjust for when creating gravitational fields for the ship to fall into. And then there is the electricity draw of the cannon itself. Ken and Gabby even talk about the power draw and having to compensate for it. All of these require some initial tuning by Garrus before they are usable.
    • Then Jacob comes along and burnishes the armor with diamond plating. This adds more weight to the ship, thus reducing the effect of recoil of accelerating metal to relativistic speeds. With recoil compensated for, Garrus saw an opportunity to increase the gun's damage.
    • Horizon comes along and Garrus gets to see a Collector ship firsthand. Later he gets to see the effect that GARDIAN defense lasers have on that ship. This gives him baseline readings of how much firepower is actually required to breach a Collector ship's hull. He gets on the guns to see if he can make them deliver the required amount of firepower.
    • Samara comes along and adds new chemical thrusters that require more fuel to be carried. Again, more weight to the ship, less recoil, thus more firepower and accuracy. And also the opportunity to scan more planets.
    • Stockpiling mineral resources also adds weight. Using mineral resources for research projects reduces weight. The Tantalus drive core changes its power draw to keep up, thus affecting the power available to the Thannix. Got to compensate for that. Until...
    • The FBA couplings are installed in Engineering, allowing the power systems to deliver energy where needed in a more stable manner. A stable energy draw for the gun means the robustness Garrus calibrated in earlier isn't needed any more. As any control engineer will say, decreased need for robustness means more performance that can be squeezed out of the system. So Garrus tunes again.
    • The squad boards the Collector ship and takes readings from the inside. Horizon gave Garrus an estimate of how much firepower is necessary to breach the Collectors' hull. These readings now tell him what is sufficient. Also, he now knows that the ship is most likely carrying live victims. He has to tune the gun now to pierce the hull but not damage any pods. Tough ask for a gun calibrator.
    • Tali comes along and installs the Cyclonic barrier technology which is a huge energy hog by itself. Firing the Thannix while these shields are deflecting enemy fire is a real possibility in combat. More tuning of the power draw.
    • And, of course, he has to calculate for how much power the gun can draw in an active combat situation, when the ship is actively dodging oncoming fire, regenerating shields and managing damage control systems. To boot, he has to factor in how quickly the gun can regenerate and reload in a situation where every second not spent firing is a liability. And then add in the accuracy of firing the weapon in combat conditions. Needless to say, the Turian has his hands full managing accuracy, energy and whatever other variables are required to fire the Thanix and keep it firing.
  • Grunt says "Grunt, I like that name. It has no meaning." Grunt does mean something - to humans, but not to Krogan. So why was Okeer using that term? Because he was working for a human mercenary commander who wanted "Grunts" for her private army.
  • Why is Shepard surprised at the Quarians in the flotilla calling them "Captain" despite them having not ranked up to Captain yet? After all, human naval tradition also states that the commanding officer of a ship should be addressed as Captain. Reading the codex on the Alliance gives answers this - the Alliance was formed by combining all nations' space programs, not their navies. While navy men including an earlier Captain Shepard have gone to space, that seems to be only an American phenomenon. Most space programs select from the Air Force. And most space programs including NASA designate the commanding officer of shuttles, modules and stations as some variation of "Commander". Most likely this stems from the Air Force's use of terms such as Command Pilot or Aircraft Commander. Also astronauts tend to use actual rank, just like the Air Force. If a mission commander is a Lieutenant Colonel, they might address him as such, just like the Air Force. Only navies have a tradition of ignoring rank and calling someone Captain. Furthermore, Shepard is not a pilot. They are infantry and special ops, who use actual rank and address unit leaders as commanders.
  • Why is Paragon Shepard far more angry at David's predicament in Overlord, doing things a Renegade Shepard normally would to Gavin? David's situation is a deep offense to Paragon Shepard's philosophy. A Renegade Shepard would be disgusted but their winning at all costs philosophy would override it. Paragon Shepard won't compromise theirs or other people's humanity to defeat the Reapers or the Geth, and can resultantly Pistol Whip Gavin.
  • Killing the thresher maw on Tuchanka is seen as a Moment of Awesome taken Up to Eleven by the Krogan, with such a feat not having been since a thousand years ago by Wrex. Yet in the original, Shepard can rack up multiple thresher maw kills on foot. Why do the Krogan treat this as such a huge achievement? Because the most effective way to kill a thresher maw is completely against the standard way that Krogan fight. Shepard previously slaughtered maws by running circles around them. Krogan on the other hand like to charge up close and use their shotgun. In the rite, Shepard and Grunt are confined to a pedestal where the maw can run rings around them. If you get a krogan's health low enough, he will go into a blood rage and try to charge the thresher. So Shepard is forced to change tactics, impressing the Krogan that much more.
  • Why would the Alliance decide to ground Joker of all people? One rule every pilot must know very well is to Know When to Fold 'Em and bail out instead of making a futile effort in saving the aircraft, potentially ending with a Senseless Sacrifice. Any pilot who loses their plane is automatically brought before a court of inquiry, and a pilot evaluation board determines if this pilot should be allowed to continue to fly. While Joker would not be held responsible for losing the Normandy, he doomed himself by stubbornly staying until Shepard had to force him out. Since this resulted in Shepard's death, a pilot eval board would determine that his stubbornness makes him a liability, forcing others to waste precious time arguing with him in a situation where seconds make the difference between safely getting to a life pod and going down with your ship. Furthermore, the testimony that would have led the committee to ground Joker most likely came from Ashley/Kaidan, who had apparently been trying to convince Joker to abandon ship before they had to go find Shepard. No wonder Joker developed such a grudge against them.
  • There is actually a valid reason why the Mordin/Grunt loyalty fight got Dummied Out - having it would infer a horrendously stupid breach in information compartmentalization. Mordin's work on the genophage was a tightly held secret - albeit one he reveals to Shepard in order to allow the commander to be able to trust him. But unless someone blabbed about this to Grunt, there was no way he'd know enough to go pick a fight with Mordin. Grunt was otherwise content to let other squadmates be as long as they stayed out of his way. For the most part, other squadmates are all seasoned operators who know better than to intentionally leak something that would destroy unit cohesion.
    • As a corollary, the other two loyalty fights do make sense. Jack had it in for Miranda the moment they met, so the loyalty fight is either due to Miranda stubbornly insisting that Jack's captors wasn't really Cerberus even after visiting Pragia, or Jack petulantly choosing to pick a fight when Miranda is distracted by having to deal with Oriana's relocation. Meanwhile, Legion is a master hacker with a motivation to protect the geth from the Quarians, so of course it would scan Tali's omni tool to gain some intelligence on the Creators' plans.
  • Salarian reproduction politics:
    • The salarians placing so much importance on reproduction contracts seems over blown, and makes it seem like if one person cannot find a mate then the entire clan perishes. A closer look at the codex entry on Salarian biology reveals why. As haplo diploid, a Salarian female can lay unfertilized eggs at will. These eggs hatch into males, so as long as a clan has even one female, they can keep their numbers constant. However, once that female dies, there is no one that can repopulate the clan until a replacement female hatches and matures. And for an egg to hatch a female, it must be fertilized. So a reproduction contract secures the ability to create females for the clan. Since males imprint on their mother only while females imprint on the matriarchs of both clans involved in the contract that spawned her, whoever this female spawns in the future will have some allegiance to not one but two clans. That is why these reproduction contracts seem like a political alliance rather than simple mate selection.
    • Why is it a negotiation rather than just simply a selection of which clan to mate with? The negotiation is most likely over which clan gets to keep the female hatchling. A clan that "loses" has to fertilize the egg and cement an alliance but is essentially annexed by the other clan since they don't get their own female to propagate their own line and their descendants now belong to the other clan. An equitable contract most likely has two clans fertilizing each others' eggs so both clans get females and both clans can propagate. A winning negotiation means this clan can use other clans' genes for their own females while those clans die out.
  • Mordin remarking on never having met a Krogan scientist worthy of the term seems like racist stereotyping, especially if Okeer and Fortack have been encountered. He isn't stating that Krogan can never become scientists; he is instead stating that the few Krogan scientists he met were appallingly inept. Consider Fortack's case; instead of debating the merits of his "invention" with a scientific peer, he gutted that peer. And while Okeer seems like a more conventional scientist, his statements reveal that his engineering of Grunt was due to brute force trial and error, creating multiple failures. Later during his own loyalty mission, Mordin reveals his utter distaste for simple brute force experimentation, opining that any scientist worth his salt should not have to rely on brute force. He correctly states that using ethics, knowledge and data to narrow down cases to test the theory is what a real scientist should be doing; neither Fortack nor Okeer fit that description.
  • Jack hates Miranda because Miranda is part of Cerberus, the organization that captured and tortured her throughout her entire childhood. Miranda hates or at least strongly dislikes Jack because Miranda sees her as an unstable wildcard and an embarrassment to Cerberus, her employers. But deeper than that; Jack and Miranda actually have more in common than meets the eye. Both were designed to the liking of their "creators"; Miranda's father wanted a perfect daughter whose talents he could exploit while Jack was created to become the ultimate biotic weapon. Jack and Miranda have both been used and effectively enslaved by people that have no regard for their status as human beings from infancy and birth respectively. The two hate each other because they remind each other of their own suffering.
  • If Shepard destroys the Collector Base and talks with Samara afterwards, Samara believes that it was the right choice. She adds that while the Illusive Man believes himself to be smart and strong enough to control that kind of hyperadvanced technology, he is really not. The sequel proves her absolutely right. Sometimes it pays to listen to your elders.
  • Why is a drill instructor chewing out recruits on the Citadel? After all, the Alliance's basic training boot camp isn't on the Citadel; you'd expect it to be on Earth. Although a senior NCO screaming at "recruits" on how to properly fire a dreadnought's main gun seems like something the navy would teach at boot camp, most navies differentiate between basic training that makes people ready to do basic crewman tasks and occupational training which teaches crewmen the specifics of a particular job onboard. This "vocational" training is done in phases; first, enlisted personnel who haven't been assigned an occupation rotate through most until they find one or are assigned one. Once assigned, they receive initial training onboard from senior NCO's. Once that senior enlisted is satisfied that they can proceed forward, they are sent to "A schools" where they receive more advanced occupational training. They then can be entrusted with operating equipment with a lower level of supervision. The "recruits" getting chewed out were most likely getting their on the job training.
    • This, of course, assumes they were Navy in the first place. It's entirely possible they were Alliance Marines. And Marine instructors are trained to chew out trainees.
    • Marines don't operate the main guns of capital ships; navy crewmen do. The reason why the instructor and recruits are wearing armor is because they are handling ordnance. A mishap handling ordnance or inspecting a dreadnought's main gun does the same amount of damage as an artillery round hitting close by.
  • Why was the SR2 made twice as big as the original Normandy, when it would have been economical to build an exact duplicate? Doctrinal differences with the Alliance. The old Normandy had the armory, shuttle bay and engineering crammed onto the same deck, while the SR2 has them on three separate decks. Cerberus expects Shepard to scavenge and store mineral resources, as it doesn't have the same ubiquitous supply chain as the Alliance. They have a roomier galley and mess hall, because they can't exactly let the crew have extended Liberty whenever they dock somewhere (like an Alliance ship might typically do), so the crew needs to be kept happy onboard the ship. They added a tech lab, as the Illusive Man believes in compartmentalization to such an extent that one cell can't and shouldn't rely on other cells for research work. He also wanted to keep Shepard away from the nastier experiments that other labs may be carrying out. They made the captain's cabin more roomy and spacious specifically to sweeten the pot for Shepard to work with Cerberus.
  • The Ship Tease between Shepard and Shiala seems to come out of nowhere, portraying her as yet another person infatuated with the Player Character after being rescued. Looking at Shiala's past history with Shepard, this doesn't seem to come out of left field. Shiala was the first asari to ever meld minds with Shepard (before Liara), and the asari consider melding minds as a rather personal and intimate act. It is only natural that Shiala took a shine to Shepard after melding with them.
  • After heading down to Tuchanka for whatever reason, provided he wasn't killed, Wrex meets Shepard. As they meet, Shepard is shook by the hand firmly, a second hand gripping roughly close to the elbow. Their name is then repeated, once before the shake, once after. To many, it seems like old friends reuniting. However, to shake someone's hand while gripping their wrist suggests distrust, used in the past to check visitors for any weapons hidden with the sleeves of their garments. It wasn't a friend's disbelief of seeing an ally return from the dead, it was him reassuring himself that Shepard wasn't an impostor! Wreav doesn't greet Shepard the same way, simply threatening and talking down to them. Wreav clearly doesn't like Shepard, while Wrex needs to know that his friend is safe and indeed who he once knew.
  • Making certain upgrades, including Tali's, Garrus', and Jacob's life-saving ones, contingent on talking to crewmates before they bring up their loyalty missions or afterwards is a reward for taking the time to get to know the crew, and punishment for not doing so.
  • Jacob mentions that he has no siblings or close cousins. Couple that with his presumed dead father and no mention of his mother and he sounds like he's Conveniently an Orphan. But his lack of close family probably made him an even more ideal Cerberus recruit; no close relatives means the odds of someone wanting to investigate if Jacob disappears or dies under mysterious circumstances are low, helping the organization to stay hidden. It also makes it harder for someone to get to him through them, as in the case of Miranda and Oriana.
  • During Garrus' "reach and flexibility" conversation after his Loyalty Mission, he mentions that Turian ships have less personal restrictions compared to Alliance ships but more operational discipline. You would expect an autocratic race like the turians to have both personnel restrictions and operational discipline. However, turians are poor swimmers and don't like water, so their lack of personnel restrictions make sense. Personnel restrictions on ships are derived from the human seafaring tradition in which ships crews were restricted from doing certain things owing to logistical constraints (shipboard water usage restrictions, curtailing, showering, and washing clothes). Owing to their water aversion, turians most likely never had navies or developed a seafaring tradition, and therefore never saw a need to restrict even off duty personnel activities. As long as a turian does his duty satisfactorily, he or she is free to go about their personal lives as they see fit.
    • This also reveals doctrinal differences between the Alliance and the turians. The turians like to keep their fleets close to their colonies or patrol Council space, so they behave more like a troop garrison. If a few odd people are injured in sparring contests, they don't lose effectiveness by much since they are close to their bases and replacing troops isn't an issue. The Alliance, on the other hand, operates as a long range power projector by patrolling the Traverse and even the Terminus if necessary. Being so far away from their bases, Alliance ships can't just lose people to extracurricular injuries since medicines are at a premium, and getting replacements may take too long. They therefore will do everything they can to keep everyone mission ready at all times.
  • When Shepard regains consciousness after destroying the Human-Reaper, why does Joker say "all survivors on board" even if there were casualties? There can be a lot of in-universe reasons, but out-of-universe, it maintains dramatic tension before the final conversation with the Illusive Man.
  • When Shepard asks Miranda about herself she lists off her physical abilities and skills however Shepard barely acknowledges them and all their questions are focussed on her history, personality and opinions. It's an early sign that Shepard is one of the first people to see Miranda as just a person and treat her as such.
  • For all the debt of gratitude sci-fi fans owe Hugo Gernsback for creating the first sci-fi magazine, the fact remains that he was crooked and a douche. Well, the highest-ranking survivor of the wreck of the Hugo Gernsback makes him look like a paragon by comparison.
  • The Krogan Rite of Passage. If you listen to - and understand - the dialogue, of course it's exactly what a young Krogan needs to learn to channel their fury. It's a Krogan history and culture lesson, and a breakdown of the Krogan's current situation and position as a race - presented in a format a young Krogan can understand and emotionally connect with, and made as inspiring as it possibly can be to them, connecting their fury and passion to the goals and needs of their race. The beasts represent the history and historical enemies of the Krogan, as explicitly stated - the varren the natural beasts and threats/predators of Tuchanka, the klixen aesthetically similar to the Rachni as giant insectoids.
    • Even further symbolism is present through the representation of the Genophage by the Thresher Maw - it's an incredibly powerful threat the usual methods of Krogan are ineffective against, as noted by a previous Fridge Brilliance entry. And the objective is to survive in defiance of it, not kill it. This is to teach the young Krogan that there are some things which cannot be defeated through brute force, some "fights" which require a more novel (and defensive/attrition) approach - like surviving the Genophage - testing young Krogans' reaction to and restraint against such things (and, as the previous entry notes, ability to to adapt novel tactics against foes their ordinary ones fail against) - and, quite possibly, to weed out those who cannot accept or do this and try to attack the Thresher Maw in close quarters anyway (who might in turn be those likely to irrationally provoke aliens, and bring their wrath down on Tuchanka!).
    • And the two Krogan who are confirmed to have killed the Thresher Maw in this phase anyway are also both symbolically connected to defeating the Genophage - Grunt through his creation in defiance of it, and intent to symbolically "overcome" it, and Wrex through his unification of the clans and reformation of Krogan society, in order to improve their future and odds of survival as a race despite it. And eventual possible oversight of a cure in the third game.
    • Oh, and Shepard helps kill it, too - guess who's also heavily involved in the third-game cure events?

    Fridge Horror 

  • You know that scene in the beginning where Shepard wakes up partially? With Miranda and Wilson panicking and trying to sedate them again? And Miranda says Wilson underestimated the amount of sedatives necessary? Yeah, Wilson just made his first attempt on your life.
  • There are multiple indicators that Wilson is the mole: His money troubles, how dismayed he was at your survival, and he lets slip that the bots are "going crazy and trying to kill him". No single conclusive piece of evidence, but taken together, they're quite obvious.
    • Not to mention the fact that when he says "they've found him" there's no mechs in the room, just dead Cerberus personnel and Wilson who's been shot. Perhaps they caught him in the act? Perhaps he tried to kill them and they put up a fight?
  • If you were lucky to do the 'N7: Archeological Dig Site' mission on the planet Joab before the The Reveal, you'd discover yourself that the Protheans portrayed in the vision/massacre/flashback Shepard sees are Collectors... the Protheans ARE the Collectors! The Horror! The ending of the second game does in fact explain the strange visions Shepard gets shown from the beacons in the first game. When you play the game for the first time, it looks like flashing images of random gore, but given the knowledge of how Reapers are created, the images appear to show the Protheans getting torn apart and remolded on the mechanic parts of a new reaper.
  • Blue Sun on the starship:
    • There's a mission in ME2 where the Blue Suns mercenaries are raiding a starship. In one room, Shepard finds two Blue Sun turians who are not helping any of the teams dispatched to stop Shepard. There aren't really any valuables in the room. There's nothing too noteworthy... except a pile of six or seven somewhat burnt, completely unclothed humans. Man, those Blue Suns sure are murderous - wait, unclothed, burned human corpses? What you've thought cannot be unthought. However, they were probably just stripping and cremating them. Like Nazis. That's much better, right?note 
    • When you go to the bridge later in the mission, you can see a similar corpse. Datapads in the bridge say that they tortured the captain. The Turians in the cafeteria were most likely rounding up the crew and torturing them for some reason.
    • The real cherry on top comes when you see similar corpses on the Collector Base. Whatever the Blue Suns were doing, it was something similar to inhumane scientific experiments carried out by Eldritch Abominations.
  • In the Shadow Broker DLC for Mass Effect 2, you can read dossiers on your crewmates. Of particular interest is Grunt's, which shows that he's developing a taste for Ernest Hemingway's work. However, he seems to have read and then deleted the novel A Farewell to Arms. Seeing as he's a member of a warrior race, you might think it's because of the title. It's not. At the end of the novel, the main character's love interest gives birth to a stillborn and then bleeds to death. Given what we know about the genophage, that imagery probably hit a little too close to home for poor Grunt.
  • If you let the timer run out in The Arrival, you get treated to a Non Standard Game Over montage of the Reapers arriving and taking over, in a series of quick cuts that make it hard to tell what is going on, with a heavy red filter on everything. Looks a lot like the message the Protheans left behind the last time around, huh?
  • Looking at most of the non-DLC squadmates in Mass Effect 2 can prompt a bit of this. The first batch of dossiers TIM gives you? A super-powered biotic, a highly knowledgeable krogan warlord (replaced by a super-krogan with Collector tech), a skilled vigilante, and a former STG operative and incredibly intelligent doctor. Barring Garrus, all of them are people that TIM would want to utilize for Cerberus (whether through dissection, picking their brains, or using their skills), not just for the suicide mission. He's got you on a recruiting mission for Cerberus. Even the ones that couldn't be used or experimented upon for their skills are possible recruited assets - TIM would probably prefer that you don't rein in Garrus or help Thane with his issues, because two Cold Sniper assassins would be incredibly useful for Cerberus, as would a highly successful merc, and the best thief in the galaxy. Tali and Samara are disposable resources, useful for the Suicide Mission but easily disposed of after. Plus, a biotic as powerful as Samara would make for an interesting dissection, and at the end of Samara's loyalty mission TIM even says Morinth would have made a useful asset.
  • The reason why everyone you pick up (except for Jacob, who is assigned to you, not someone you recruit) is in the middle of the Dysfunction Junction? Because they are potentially useful assets who Cerebus does not consider worth the time to otherwise recruit: in other words, people who Have Outlived Their Usefulness to Cerebus before even being recruited, and are considered people who Cerebus doesn't care about and, in some cases, might actively want dead (like Jack). Cerebus has decided that these people would be useful Meat Shields for Shepard.
  • Cerberus created Jack as a super weapon. They've been chasing her ever since she escaped from the Pragia but she hates them intensely and has massive trust issues so their operatives can't get close. But then along comes Shepard who needs her for his mission and wins her trust....while keeping her on a Cerberus ship filled with Cerberus agents and the supposedly unwaveringly loyal Miranda. If Miranda had stuck with Cerberus she probably would have received orders to incapacitate Jack and return her to Cerberus as soon as Shepard was distracted. In fact, since the Illusive Man sends you the dossier for Samara after you've recruited Jack it's possible the only reason he sent Shepard to pick Jack up at all was as a smokescreen for kidnapping her.
  • All those guards you singlehandedly bulldoze through during the Arrival DLC? Yeah, those are most likely indoctrinated scientists and researchers. No wonder they barely have time to squeal before Shepard splatters them all over the walls.
  • Miranda says that she wasn't her father's first daughter, just the first one that he kept. Did he cull the others before or after birth? How long before or after birth? When you consider what Miranda's father was willing to do to countless sentient beings For Science! in Mass Effect 3, this is not a pretty picture.
    • And he wasn't the only one. Okeer in his quest to engineer Grunt ended up rejecting many prototypes. He himself said that some were handed over to the Collectors for experimentation, while others were handed over to Jedore to use as cannon fodder. Both of them were following the exact sequence of brute force repetitions to achieve a desired result that the Catalyst was executing, as revealed in ME3. Which could lead one to suspect indoctrination on both of them.
  • You can find Shepard's helmet on Alchera. Which begs the question... how did Shepard's helmet get separated from their head? Or rather, did their head get separated from their body? That would put a whole new spin on how much effort Cerberus had to spend on reconstructing Shepard's corpse if they had to reconstruct your entire body from bits scattered across the Normandy crash site....
    • Considering how smashed up Shepard's body is seen to be in the beginning cinematic, plus the fact none of the rest of the armor they wore in the planetfall is ever seen or referenced, that's not a unreasonable theory.
  • One of Mordin's comments on the Citadel mentions he wishes he had studied the Keepers, but he always had other more important things to do. Think about that. If Mordin hadn't been recruited to do STG work, he might have completed Chorban and Jhaleed's work much earlier, learned the truth about the Keepers, and warned everyone about the Reapers... or even more worrying, he could have published his findings, and pushed Sovereign to attack earlier than planned and bring the Reapers in years beforehand.
  • On Pragia you can acquire an upgrade for biotics from a chair with arm and leg restraints. Given the nature of the facility, it's pretty much guaranteed that one or more children were tortured to get that information and now you're benefiting from it.
  • The pods Collectors put people in are terrifying enough, but on the Collector Ship you can use them as cover. If Kelly Chambers survived and you talk to her in Mass Effect 3, she will tell you that she was conscious for the entire time. Imagine being stuck in one of those pods and having gunfire slamming into the sides. Your hopes come up when you hear people shouting in a human language, but their voices slowly fade away as they do nothing to help you. Kelly Chambers saying that she was conscious brings up another question: what did the colonists eat? As far as we see, there is only one source of protein in the Collector Base.
  • If you didn't do any missions before going through the Omega-4 Relay, you will see Lilith, the red-haired colonist from Horizon, being ground into genetic material instead of Kelly. The ship that Shepard boarded is the same one that attacked Horizon and destroyed the Normandy SR-1. This means that every time Shepard fought the Collectors, she was there, and they couldn't save her.
  • During Thane's recruitment mission, you find a lot of salarians sealed into windowless rooms. Apparently Thane locked them in to protect them from the ensuing violence. However... what if Shepard hadn't let them out? What if Thane had died before he could come back and free them? How long would it be before someone found them?
    • Hours, probably. Illium police or reinforcing mercenaries would have gotten there eventually. But you can bet the mercenaries wouldn't let them just walk.
  • Rael'Zorah was manufacturing geth platforms and allowing the geth to download run times on to them in order to test new weapons and AI hacks. But simultaneously Legion was attempting to stop the heretics from reprogramming all geth to boost their numbers nineteen fold. What would have happened if the Quarians hadn't decided to try Tali and thus let her and Shepard go on their merry way? And what if Shepard had sold Legion to Cerberus after acquiring the IFF, thus never learning of the heretic virus? The Alerai would have communicated the position of the migrant fleet to the now completely hostile geth in the Veil nebula. And the fleet was in the Valhalla Threshold refueling. The geth would have been able to completely annihilate them, before the Quarians even had a chance to escape.
    • The Migrant Fleet probably would have destroyed the Alerai before that happened. The only reason they didn't do so before Tali's trial was the possibility of finding surviviors and/or evidence regarding said trial.
  • During the Reaper IFF mission, you hear work logs from the Cerberus research crew, and watch as they slowly lose their minds to indoctrination. Yet this isn't the drooling incoherent babbling form of indoctrination we saw before on Virmire, this seems to be stripping away the workers' sanity in a different way by Gaslighting them. These people are first experiencing each others' thoughts, each other's dreams, and horrifyingly lose the ability to recognize whether some thoughts are their own or someone else's!! This reaper isn't just creating Slave Mooks out of them, it is removing their sense of individual identity and forcing them to collectively experience everything. It is priming them for their species' possible eventual fate - Reaperization in which all minds are interconnected and act as one with a single purpose.
    • Which kinda makes you look at the asari siari religion with its philosophy of "all is one" in a whole new terrifying way. Is that religion similarly priming the asari for eventual Reaperization too?
    • Considering that the Protheans messed with the primitive Asari and are the basis of their religion, with their sense-reading and memory transfer abilities, it's entirely possible that they started that.
  • The Overlord mission gives us a terrifying preview of a possible outcome of the synthesis ending of Mass Effect 3. The experiment was going right when David Archer could communicate with a single geth platform. However, it was when David was plugged in to the entire ship's neural network that the experiment went off the rails. His brain couldn't handle all off the crosstalk between millions of programs sharing everything. And this was without all those programs sharing sensory data. Now in the synthesis ending, everyone is connected to everyone else including their sensory perception, from all the cybernetic implants. The sensory overload and crosstalk is going to be a billion times worse. Can a single mind handle it? Or will everyone be driven insane screaming QUIET PLEASE!! Make it stop!!" Except this time, it is permanent. There is no way to make it stop.
  • The Terminus systems and probably even Citadel space had a lot of trouble looming even without the Collector threat. Archangel had forced all three major mercenary groups to unite and go after him, and once he was dealt with they were going to target Aria. What would most likely have followed after taking her down is a tripartite struggle for control of Omega that would have spilled over into the entire Terminus, including Illium. A three way gang war by itself might not have been that bad, but both the Blue Suns and Blood Pack had plans in the works. The Blue Suns were breeding genetically engineered super Krogan on Korlus, while the Blood Pack was having Maelon develop a genophage cure on Tuchanka. Had both these plans come to fruition, the war would have escalated between the Blood Pack Krogan hordes and the Blue Suns Krogan lances. How many worlds would they have cratered before one side won? And it gets worse. The Overlord VI would have raised the dish and transmitted itself off world - most probably into heretic station just a system away. And now this VI has a virus that it can repurpose to corrupt and infect all geth. There are no more isolationist geth who just study organics from afar or heretic geth who want to harvest organics for preservation in Reaper form. The geth are now all Omnicidal driven by this scared and deranged VI. That and the Blue Suns Blood Pack Krogan war is enough to doom most life.
  • When the Illusive Man gives Shepard the dossiers, he also makes it very clear that he wants to keep Shepard away from the original squad, giving reasons for why all five of them are not available, at least one of which turns out to be a blatant lie. The mission summary after recruiting Garrus also reveals that the Illusive Man did not know ahead of time that Garrus was Archangel. He also says of Tali that her assistance on Freedom's Progress was something he needed to look into. If the Illusive Man had known ahead of time who Archangel really was, and if Tali hadn't gone to Freedom's Progress, the Illusive Man wouldn't have sent Shepard to recruit them. Garrus and Tali would both have been left for dead and it is very unlikely that Shepard ever would have found out what happened to them.
  • Payday Loans still exist and are being targeted towards low income people. And alternatively, Exo-geni, the same company that subjected the Feros colonists to horrible mind control experimentation is also targeting low income people to colonize a world where they had previously sent husks for experimentation by Cerberus.
  • Captain Anderson mentions that most of Sovereign's wreckage couldn't be recovered because of "illegal salvage." We know from the Leviathan of Dis and the derelict reaper that even reaper corpses can still indoctrinate organics. So how many people took pieces of Sovereign only to become indoctrinated?
  • In Jacob's loyalty mission, you find out his father Ronald went power mad after his ship crashed in a planet ten years ago and forced the crew to eat local vegetation that causes mental degeneration upon consumption. For the next decade, he would rule as a tyrant and keeping the women as his own personal harem. Certainly after all this time, one or more may have gotten pregnant during the ten years that passed, but we see no children around. One must wonder what happened with them...
  • The Collectors are primarily interested in humans, so why would they need Okeer's Krogan clones? They used them to build the Brutes.
  • A bachelor party on Illium has the Salarian bachelor in question wonder why his human colleague would find the asari dancer they're all watching attractive, saying that she just looks like a salarian. The human and turian both disagree, stating that, aside from the head fringe and blue skin, asari look like turians/humans. Which prompts the human to ask if maybe asari have a way to mind-control other species into perceiving them as attractive by their standards. Which adds a whole new, kind of terrifying level to the "everybody loves the asari"-thing.
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