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Fridge Brilliance:

  • FTL:
    • It's explained that the Arks have a unique FTL drive that captures and recycles the static energy that would otherwise build up and destroy other ships unless discharged, thus bypassing the normal range limitation. The Reapers were noted to be immune to such buildup; now we know how. This was possibly one of the technologies salvaged from Sovereign, along with the Thanix Cannon.
    • It may have been that galactic civilization was getting so close to their technology level that the Reapers came to harvest them when they did. As precedent, the Protheans managed to reverse-engineer one of their technologies, the Conduit (a Mass Relay), by the time the Reapers came for them.
      • The Reapers commence harvests on a set 50,000 year cycle. The cycle by the time of the original trilogy is slightly overdue (hence why Sovereign is using Saren as an agent), but generally each one is plus or minus a percentage anyway.
  • Golden worlds:
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    • At first, it doesn't seem to make sense that the Heleus Cluster has so many habitable planets and races compared to the Milky Way clusters (which had maybe three garden worlds at most). However, if you look at the descriptions for many of the lifeless planets in Mass Effect 1 and 2, you'll see that many of them used to have life before the Reapers wiped them out. Without the regularly scheduled genocide, the Andromeda galaxy has a much larger abundance of living worlds.
    • Also, the Initiative is likely exploring the cluster more thoroughly than what would have been done in the Milky Way without the Mass Relays to provide a easier alternative method of travel than regular FTL.
    • It's explained very early on that an ancient race of Precursors had been terraforming planets in the Heleus Cluster, and that the Initiative simply failed to realize this as the reason so many planets there were golden worlds. By the time they caught on, the terrforming machines ("Vaults") had been turned off for centuries, leaving most of the planets inhospitable rocks that were even worse off than before.
  • Shepard's helmet was a combat helmet that covered their whole face, while Ryder's helmet has a larger visor to allow them to see more clearly. Shepard was more of a soldier fighting enemies while Ryder is more of an explorer, hence the difference.
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    • The standard Initiative helmets have the same design, minus Alec's N7 colors. Unfortunately, putting visibility over protection led to Ryder's helmet cracking under pressure not just once, but twice. If the Initiative had gone with N7-style helmets instead, Alec may not have had to sacrifice himself in the first place.
  • Succession:
    • At first, it is confounding that Alec Ryder picked one of his children (an inexperienced Ensign Newbie) to succeed him as Pathfinder instead of his second (Cora), as is common protocol. It would initially seem as though his reason was that the chosen sibling would become a lot more intertwined with SAM than Cora could ever hope to be and would therefore be enhanced far more by SAM. However, Cora's Loyalty Mission reveals that there is a deeper reason as to why Alec bypassed her with so much power and responsibility. Cora completely bought into the asari commando doctrine, especially focusing on what it means to be a good Tianma or bodyguard. She bought into the mythos so much that when she and Ryder discover that the asari pathfinder (Sarissa), the exemplar of what an asari commando should be, sacrificed the previous pathfinder (and her protectee) for the supposed greater good, she immediately calls out Sarissa for doing so. Ryder, on the other hand, can recognize the pragmatism of that decision. This portrays Cora as being too much of a good soldier and loyal follower to take on a pathfinder's role, which involves a lot of out of the box thinking.
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    • Another reason is that the chosen Ryder sibling might be Ensign Newbie on paper, but Alec's long association with the project meant that his children practically grew up with the project and were both informally training for the role their entire lives.
    • There's an even simpler reason that SAM describes at the end of Alec's logs. Ellen is alive. He didn't want to go through the effort of waking her up, only for her to mourn the death of her child.
    • The tie-in novel Mass Effect Initiation reveals yet another reason - SAM is genetically incompatible with Cora since an experimental offshoot of SAM merged with Cora and enhanced her, but became highly unstable and needed to be “consumed” by SAM to save it. SAM was initially constructed to primarily enhance only Alec and Ellen. Therefore, only someone who inherited Alec and Ellen’s genes - the twins - could successfully merge with SAM.
  • Cora:
    • Additional brilliance with Cora. Her hairstyle (a severe undercut) has led to some backdraft due to its association with various subcultures such as gay subculture, which Cora wasn't a part of. The in-universe explanation is probably simpler - it's the closest human hair can mimic an asari's head-ridges, and Cora (having a strong affinity for the asari) probably did it to "fit in" as much as a human could.
    • Another one for Cora: some fans were disappointed (and some of them very vocally) that she was heterosexual. However, Cora spent her formative years among the asari and all but assimilated into that culture, feeling more affinity for it than for her human one. If she was attracted to women, she already had the chance to fall in love and settle down with an asari on Thessia instead of leaving the Milky Way.
    • Why was Cora ejected from the asari commandos and sent to the Initiative? Notice what she seizes upon to criticize Pathfinder Sarissa for: being a good Tiamna or guardian. A guardian or bodyguard is required to be steadfastly loyal and feel a true sense of belonging. Notice what Cora always complains about - never feeling a sense of belonging anywhere before. Cora most likely wanted to be someone's Tiamna, which explains her Shield Boost ability. But the program she was part of was an exchange program to learn asari military doctrine, tactics, best practices etc., and to go back to the human military to teach the same to them. Had Cora realized this, she would have been excited to go back to the Alliance to teach them new tactics and create that niche for herself. Because she didn't realize this, the asari sent her somewhere where she could be someone's Tiamna. In the Initiative, she could finally realize her dream and become Alec Ryder's Tiamna - and thereby follow in her hero Sarissa's footsteps.
  • Synthesis:
    • The Synthesis ending in 3 was likely meant as the "best" ending, but was heavily criticized due to a complete lack of positive foreshadowing (the only character arguing for it, Saren, was Brainwashed and Crazy) or clearly showing/explaining why it was a good thing. Here, the link between SAM and the Ryder's and the related discussions about trans-humanism are examples of Synthesis being shown in a good light.
    • This intertwining is an example of Synthesis being done right, as opposed to previous attempts that failed. An attempt was made with the Zha'til in a previous cycle, but it failed because the AI was developed, allowed to grow, then introduced on mature people who lost control of it. The second attempt - Project Overlord - failed because the human mind wasn't ready for a connection to a massive networked intelligence that had also matured over time. The Reapers' synthesis initially only created husks, and even those with strong minds (Saren and TIM) succumbed to it. Theirs was a case of an advanced AI attempting to coexist, but instead taking complete control of a not-so-advanced organic. What Alec did right was "raise" SAM alongside his children. Therefore, when it was time to intertwine them, both the human and AI are on an equal footing and neither is going to override and seize control of the other. This is true symbiosis, while previous forms of synthesis were like an infection taking control.
  • There has been some criticism about the same wildlife appearing on five different planets despite the fact that by all rights they should have evolved very differently, but late game revelations may provide an answer. The animals didn't evolve on their own. They were created by the same race that created the Remnant and the angara.
  • Seeing Alec Ryder's capabilities and sheer badassery first-hand on Habitat 7 works not only as the taste of power (as described elsewhere), but it provides a very nice bit of meta as you slowly realize that Alec has the experience and power of a higher-level player and you're his squadmate.
  • Foster Addison's odd behavior for someone running a pioneering colonization effort may put people off sufficiently to land her in the scrappy heap. But if you stop for a second and consider who and what she was before she joined the Initiative, a lot of her behavior (including her "tired face") make sense. If Tann was 8 steps behind Garsen in the Initiative hierarchy, then Addison was probably 9 or 10. She never intended to lead the Initiative; she was satisfied with being a mid level bureaucrat on the Nexus. She never wanted to become a scrapping tough resilient git'er'done colonist ready to tackle any challenge head on. And she had a strain of anti-militarism too. Addison probably just wanted to be an Obstructive Bureaucrat, keeping flinty colonists in check by forcing them to conform to a policy. But now she has to deal with all the death and destruction of the Scourge, the extreme situation of food and possibly air and water shortages, and a restive mutinous populace. She has to make actual decisions, something that always severely taxes a process oriented bureaucrat. She has already gone through an insurrection and a hostile alien presence, something that would have been very taxing to someone who abhors militarism. And now, she finds out that Alec Ryder, one of the drivers of the Initiative, is dead and has put his kid in his role. Addison expected to work with Alec and act as a check and balance to his tendencies, but now she has an inexperienced grunt looking to her for leadership, and she can't be that inspiring leader. That is why she comes off as unpleasant and unappreciative - she can't be anything else. And her "tired face" is a symptom of just that - a woman horribly out of her depth, probably dealing with PTSD, and only able to muster a blank stare to deal with issues. Patch 1.05 gives Addison more appropriate body language for her attitude, complete with pinching-the-bridge-of-the-nose.
  • The technology to detect habitable worlds in other galaxies with minimal light lag is revealed to be geth in origin. Why would the geth need a faster than light sensor capable of seeing past the galaxy? The Reapers exist outside the Milky Way. Whether it was the Heretics looking for their gods or the True Geth looking for an escape, they would need such a device to investigate them.
  • Most turians you encounter in this game are barefaced, lacking the clan markings that they considered so important back home. Naturally, the number of turians who are willing to leave their entire galaxy behind forever would lack such emotional ties to their past.
  • Similarly, the krogan you meet sport an unusual amount of scientists, mechanics, and other intellectuals for their species. It makes sense that they would be the ones most interested in getting away from krogan politics and starting anew. Notice that Clan Nakmor only sends an ambassador to Clan Urdnot in Mass Effect 2 if Wrex is the clan chief and not Wreav. Nakmor is willing to deal with Wrex because he is a progressive reformist and a kindred spirit of sorts with them, whereas Wreav is just another bloodthirsty and traditional krogan. It's also possible that many of Nakmor's warriors joined Wrex's crusade.
  • The fact that the Remnant leave behind technology that requires easy puzzles to solve seems odd at first, but given The Reveal, they probably made those puzzles intentionally easy so the angara could figure out how their stuff worked.
  • Similar to the above, the fact that Remnant technology is designed to respond to a neural link is related to the angara's ability to manipulate bioelectricity. The Builders gave them that ability to allow them to interface with the technology. Some notes even mention teaching the angara how to use their ability (and the Builders being happily surprised when the angara discover unexpected uses). The angara have an entire order dedicated to trying to use this ability to make Remnant technology work; while they lost a lot after the Scourge, the fact that they are basically stumbling around blind and yet still making progress speaks volumes.
  • Weapons that didn't make the trip:
    • The Vindicator burst fire battle rifle didn't make it because it was made exclusively for the Blue Suns. Shepard only got one in 2 because Garrus had scrounged one from the Suns. It is also outshined by the N7 Valkyrie and the Pathfinder Pioneer.
    • The Scimitar shotgun, similarly to the Vindicator, was made exclusively for Eclipse; Shepard scrounged one from an Eclipse base. The Tempest submachine gun was also an Eclipse exclusive, which is why you see the Suspiciously Similar Substitute Charger SMG.
    • The complete lack of geth weapons is explained by the fact they were mostly acquired by scrounging them off fallen geth. The true geth never really gave organics fabrication rights, so whatever Shepard used was reverse engineered. It is also mentioned that these weapons never saw wide use due to the difficulty in maintaining them, so they got left out. Despite its association with Legion, the Widow made the cut as it is actually a quarian sniper rifle.
    • The Locust was left out because as Kasumi's Loyalty Mission explained, it was a pre-mass effect tech weapon. The one that uses mass effect fields was most likely a Normandy SR2 tech lab invention.
    • The Mantis single shot sniper rifle was left behind because they had the Widow, which despite being heavier is far more powerful. Those concerned by weight would be using lightweight weapons instead anyway.
    • The Eviscerator and Wraith shotguns were ignored since their advantage of greater range due to tighter spread was outclassed by the N7 Crusader, which fire single slugs.
    • The Claymore shotgun was stated in 3 to be poor selling due to it's flaws, so they ignored it in favor of more practical shotguns.
  • How does the Hydra mech reuse much of the design of the Atlas from 3, despite the Atlas not being developed by the time the Initiative departed? The Atlas is inexplicably identical to the Triton ADS, an old military mech that they could have based the design off instead.
  • While rescuing the Salarian ark and stealing the location of Meridian, you are presented with a Sadistic Choice of saving either the salarian pathfinder or Drack's krogan scouts. Why is there no option for Ryder to split the team up and save both? Because no one else in the squad is capable of being an effective leader: Liam is too impulsive and tends to leap before looking, Cora is too much of a follower and not enough of a leader, Vetra lacks ability in squad tactics due to only tangling with pirates and mercenaries, Peebee is basically a civilian who only knows how to defend herself with a pistol and biotics, Drack is an I Work Alone type on the battlefield (like most krogan), and Jaal has never led a squad during his time with the Angaran Resistance. Ryder, meanwhile, is a twin that served in professional military and received informal training from their N7 father. The party members attempting to save one while Ryder saves the other would have failed as the party members would become disorganized without Ryder's leadership and would be killed too.
  • The entire story would have turned out differently if the quarian ark had been picked up. When you think about it, the entire quarian race are capable of becoming pathfinders. Why? Because each and every one of them goes through a pilgrimage where they leave their ship, forage, scrounge, trade, build, fight for, tactically acquire, and generally do whatever it takes to bring back something valuable to the ship they want to serve on. They have to live their entire lives in environmental suits that allow them to survive no matter where they are. They have an affinity for technology, and therefore would be naturally curious about Remnant tech. And they have a lot of strategic processing ability on their ships, so the ark would have been no different and they would have been able to decrypt the vaults without a SAM to aid them. So they could have picked any quarian as pathfinder, sent them out and told them "find something to help us", and that person would have done an admirable job.
    • Likewise, most of the Nexus' problems would have been easily solved if even a few quarians were aboard in an advisory capacity. Restive crews on the verge of mutiny? Pretty sure they've dealt with the situation before. The Rayya's captain says that the admiralty board has had to mollify crews that wanted to break away before. Resource shortages? They've been dealing with such shortages for three hundred years. No planet to support habitation, forcing them to continue searching? Ditto! How to handle criminals? They've done that too! When the mutiny erupted, a single quarian would most likely have shamed them into falling in line.
  • Liam's behavior:
    • Despite being an ex-cop (who have a healthy suspicion of people as part of their job), Liam comes off as way too naïve and trusting, completely losing his shit when his trust doesn't pay off. A normal cop wouldn't just fly off the handle and empty a full clip into a corpse in anger, nor would they hand over sensitive classified information to a newly formed contact. And a cop wouldn't take an issue with confining someone who leaked sensitive information (even for good intentions), until the security breaches have been patched up. Talking to him reveals why he is the way he is - Liam wasn't just a cop; he was a failed cop who got reassigned to a volunteer crisis response unit. He most likely failed as a cop due to his overly trusting nature, so they sent him off to crisis response, where everyone he encounters needs helping. That explains his behavior - he sees both the Initiative and the angara as being the victims of a disaster that need crisis response, instead of being at war against armed aggressors. His freely giving information to Verand is him pigeon-holing all angara as disaster victims, and never suspecting that any of them might have ulterior motives. His anger at Ryder if they confine Verand later is the same thing - he sees her as an innocent victim to be unquestionably helped, and the Pathfinder as the firefighter/paramedic/rescue worker who always has to help without being suspicious and judgmental. Acting like a military commander and confining her to compartmentalize your operations clashes with his "always help everyone" ethos of a rescue worker.
    • A possibility with Liam is that he is going through slow and several nervous breakdowns interspersed with devil may care manic levels of positivity. Him emptying an entire clip into a Kett corpse out of anger was the first symptom, but the actual first sign is him asking about champagne and a surprise party when arriving on the Nexus for the first time despite everything appearing to be dark and inoperable. That isn’t the reaction of someone trying to lighten the mood with positive thinking; it is the reaction of someone dealing with trauma by dissociating. When you land on Eos and ride around on the Nomad, Liam mutters “Ryder’s got this!” as if to reassure himself. Then Liam starts planning a movie night when there are still many tasks to be completed. His breakdown starts to become noticeable when you find him ranting at being considered “a goddamn outsider” after the rescue of the Moeshae. He then tells Ryder about the SUV his parents are shipping him, claiming that he “needs things to be normal and familiar.” While everyone else still has a sense of wonder and mystery about Andromeda and an instinct to go out and explore no matter how rotten the situation is, Liam is the one pining for normality and familiarity in a whole new galaxy. In additional conversations, Liam mentions that he is starting to regret his decision to come to Andromeda. Him criticizing Vetra about bringing Sid is him projecting his regret onto her, and him criticizing Peebee for “not being a team player” is him being resentful of her not seeing the situation as messed up as he does. Due to this insecurity and regret, Liam does the two things that eventually lead to his Loyalty Mission - he has Ryder surreptitiously scan food and crops from a hostile merchant to “solve a food problem” that may or may not exist. This is Liam wanting to do something to help - not so much because he identified a problem that needed solving, but more so as an anxiety coping mechanism. Him giving codes to Verand is out of the same motivation - he is insecure and anxious, and needs to do something to make him feel better. On his Loyalty Mission, his insecurities come full force. Liam rants again and again about “how everything is just like Habitat 7 all over again” and how “when you take a risk, it’s supposed to work!” Liam was traumatized by the events on Habitat 7; he immediately started to regret making the trip, then freaks out and tries to do something to make it all seem worth it. This is why he gets mad if Ryder confines Verand - he took a risk with her and it didn't pay off, making his actions All for Nothing.
    • Liam’s anxiety is explained by another fact - he never had a compelling reason to leave the Milky Way behind and come to Andromeda. The Ryder twins came due to their ostracism over Alec’s SAM experiments, Cora came because she never felt she fit in anywhere in the Milky Way, Vetra came to escape her and her father’s dirty past and provide a more stable life for Sid, Peebee came due to curiosity over something completely new, Drack and his entire clan came to get away from the krogan race’s mistakes, and Suvi and Kallo came for the exploration and scientific discoveries. Liam seemed to have had a good thing going with his crisis response job in the Milky Way and seemed to have joined the Initiative on a whim. Thus you notice that everyone except for him finds their niche early on in the game: Cora becomes the military advisor and steadfastly loyal bodyguard; Vetra becomes the wheeler-dealer and overall logistics specialist; Peebee becomes the Remnant expert; Drack becomes the krogan liaison, Kett killing expert and shock trooper (and even the ship's cook); and even the local guy Jaal becomes the team’s Friendly Sniper and liaison to the Angara. Liam on the other hand doesn’t find that niche - Vetra or Jaal can both substitute for him in combat, and he doesn’t seem to do much except maybe plan social get togethers. He doesn’t even assist in the few criminal investigations that are conducted. No wonder he regrets coming here, feels like a “goddamned outsider”, and tries to do anything he can to “help” fix the ”mess”.
  • Drack's outrage at what the kett are doing to the salarians if he's brought to the Archon's ship make perfect sense when you consider that he was around when the genophage was deployed. Experiments on sentient beings would be a massive Berserk Button to most krogan, especially ones who were alive to see the genophage be unleashed. This could also be the reason Okeer was "a very hated name."
  • It's mentioned in the Codex that kett ships are actually less advanced that the Systems Alliance ships prior to the Reaper War. This makes perfect sense after you learn the truth about exaltation and realize that the kett don't really innovate - they just assimilate, taking the most useful parts of newly exalted species and incorporating them into their own DNA.
  • Since Andromeda never gets Reaper-invaded every fifty thousand years, a lot of races would have ordinarily been so technologically advanced that they would have easily crushed a weak power like the kett. The only reason the kett are as powerful as they are is due to the Scourge. While we don't know the true extent of the Scourge or the kett empire, it wouldn't be too far from left field if the kett accomplished all they have by only hitting areas disrupted by the Scourge.
    • This seems to be Kett's first encounter with the Scourge, though, as they refer to it as "strange phenomenon" and their comms seem to be adversely affected by it (to the point of them having difficulty contacting their homeworld).
  • A factor in Ellen Ryder's easy acceptance of being diagnosed with a fatal illness that is not mentioned is the fact that at least one of her Element Zero exposures occurred while she was pregnant. As explained by Kaidan and the Codex, thirty percent of in-utero exposures result in the baby developing terminal brain tumors. Since Ellen was pregnant with twins, Scott and Sara really dodged a bullet there. However sad Ellen was about dying and having to leave her family behind, she was probably more relieved that her research didn't end up killing at least one of her children.
  • The angara use a lot more Poirot Speak than the other races because they've only recently met, so the translators still aren't perfect. The previous entries in the series established that it can take years before translators are viable for even basic languages. SAM probably sped that process up in regards to the angara (and the angara have their own translators that probably helped), but it still takes time.
  • Angaran sexuality:
    • Jaal's bisexuality and the angara not making a big deal out of it could be culturally explained through their religious beliefs. The angara believe in reincarnation, and there is evidence that in some people's past lives they were the opposite sex. It shows that while there are obvious physical differences between male and female, the soul has no designated gender regardless of the angara's current life. Why limit your current interest if you were the opposite sex at one point in your cycle?
    • There are also good cultural reasons beyond this, especially when one remembers the information found in-game on angaran relationships, reproduction as a whole, and the simple fact that angarans are aliens: they don't have the same hang-ups that modern humanity does due to various reasons including cultural, religious and psychological ones.
      • Firstly, although the precise details are unclear, we know that angarans are both litter-birthers (thus removing the pressure of having but a single child to carry on the family), and practice a form of communal child-rearing where all of the offspring of a group of females consider themselves a single family unit. Angarans clearly don't have the same interconnection of "family" and "biological relationship" as humans do; being homosexual isn't a big deal from a reproductive view, because there's always someone in the family who can perpetuate it.
      • Secondly, we know that angarans don't practice life-long monogamy as a matter of course. Jaal outright states that relationships change as feelings do, which is partly why family units are so communal. Bisexuality may likely be more common amongst angarans than amongst humans, since the evidence is that couples form and then break up semi-regularly.
      • Finally, angaran culture is based on accepting and embracing emotions, and then dealing with any conflicts that result. Naturally, this would most likely lead to a "love is love" viewpoint regarding sexuality, especially since there's no particular biological or cultural imperative for angarans to either procreate or stay faithful to a single life-long partner.
  • The choice of whether to participate in Sarissa's cover-up or to reveal it:
    • This is actually a choice between being a civilian version of a Pathfinder or a military version. Not revealing Sarissa's secret of sacrificing the original asari Pathfinder is the civilian way; a civilian pathfinder is literally a trailblazer, leading colonists to a place suitable for habitation. This person must constantly keep morale up, continuing to sell that populace on the promise of that colony even if there may be unforeseen dangers ahead. If they don't maintain an image as an icon of hope and inspiration, colonists could very well lose interest in the Initiative and want to go home. Sarissa is "selling" that paradigm of being a Pathfinder. Exposing her mistake, on the other hand, is behaving like a military pathfinder; these pathfinders are typically advance scouting units that reconnoiter an objective area and scrupulously report back everything they've seen - especially potential hazards - to a field commander. This job requires truthfulness and integrity, so that the field commander has all relevant information to make decisions. By choosing to "report" Sarissa to the captain, Ryder is behaving like a military pathfinder.
    • Doctrinal differences between human and asari militaries also plays a role here. It is stated in the Codex that the asari military is primarily a decentralized collection of huntress bands, each of which were raised by a city. A huntress captain like Sarissa was therefore used to there being no chain of command above her besides a mayor, governor, or governing council. Such an arrangement usually lends itself to a pattern of the huntress captain taking care of problems covertly, then telling civilian leadership that the situation has been resolved and everything is fine. Asari pride themselves on a very stable society, so there is no point in revealing the ugly details of your op, panicking civilians, and cracking that veneer of prosperous stability, right? Sarissa most likely treated her Captain like a mayor who doesn’t need to know the ugly details and only needs to be reassured that the danger has passed. Human militaries are larger and spec ops units are there primarily as a force multiplier and Hypercompetent Sidekick to a bigger more powerful military unit such as a division, fleet, or army. Therefore, a human special forces operative is trained to not hide anything from a superior officer and scrupulously report everything so that higher ranked officer can make better decisions. Ryder can therefore see the ark captain not as a mayor, but as the ark’s commanding officer.
  • The Unintentionally Unsympathetic Zoe Kennedy’s “selfish” actions in getting started with reproducing the human race makes more sense if you ask her what she will name her kid at the end of the mission. She mentions “an old friend - David Edward” strongly implying that she knew Admiral Anderson from the trilogy. If she knew Anderson well, she must have also known about the Reaper threat, and therefore assumes that humanity has gone extinct in the Milky Way. No wonder she wanted to start making babies!
  • Reyes Vidal is able to come and go from Kadara Port as he pleases, but he prefers to hang out at Tartarus in the slums rather than Kralla's Song in the port proper. While part of this might have to do with his business as a smuggler, it also likely has to do with him being the Charlatan. Since Kralla's Song is the club that all of Sloane Kelly's closest people go to, he prefers to do his business in Tartarus where he can evade her notice.
  • The Launch Trailer features the song "Only Human" by Rag'N'Bone Man. The song fits the story of the human Pathfinder's struggle to establish a foothold for the Milky Way colonists in two different ways: Ryder is "only human" going up against the Archon's Assimilation Plot and is also held to high expectations while being quite aware of one's flaws and shortcomings, which sums up Ryder's character arc.
    • Actually, the song would actually apply to Liam more than Ryder. Unlike Ryder, who is symbiotically intertwined with SAM and can be physiologically augmented by him (making him/her technically transhuman), or Cora, who was born a biotic and therefore also a transhuman, Liam is an ordinary and purely human squadmate. And he is also the one who makes well intentioned but spectacular mistakes throughout the story.
  • Suvi bases her strong belief in a “Divine Intelligence” on an observation of “an undeniable pattern” of how life evolved in the Milky Way. Those who played the original trilogy know that there was a repeating pattern of “evolution and dissolution” - and it was due to an “intelligence” influencing life and planetary environments for a billion years. So Suvi was right - life in the Milky Way was being controlled by a powerful intelligence! Her mistake was that she assumed it was a benevolent intelligence, rather than an all powerful crapshoot like the Catalyst was.
  • Looking at the Jardaan and their accomplishments, a lot of them aren't far removed from some of the things seen through the original trilogy - genetically engineering a species (Saren and Dr. Okeer), having tech capable of filtering radiation out of an atmosphere (salarian Shroud on Tuchanka), and Dyson spheres (like the geth). The only difference is the much bigger scale.
  • Sloane's hatred of the kett. Her codex entry mentions she's a veteran of the Skyllian Blitz, and whatever she saw was so bad that she's still having recurring nightmares. Take a traumatised veteran, have her go through the Uprising, and take off to try and make a new world only to run smack dab into the kett (who, according to an e-mail you can find at Podromos operate very much like the batarians), and they're mashing on a very raw Trauma Button for her.

Fridge Horror:

  • A large amount of turians who joined the Initiative have no facial tattoos. In turian culture, this tends to be a trait of criminals; while not universally true (such as undercover officers) that cultural stereotype has precedent as this was a trait of Saren and Warden Kuril. The horror emerges when you realize the possibility that some of the turians who joined the Initiative may have done so to escape and avoid punishment for crimes in the Milky Way. So several of the turians could secretly be career criminals, which could be everything from white collar crime to serial killers.
    • That's...debatable. Turians without tattoos being untrustworthy is a turian stereotype, not a hard and fast fact. Yes, two fit the stereotype but there are also many, many tattooed turian criminals. Indeed why would you deliberately mark yourself out as a criminal? What's more likely is that turians not getting tattoos (or removing existing ones) is an act of social rebellion and social oddballs are naturally gonna be more inclined to leave the galaxy. Also the tattoos are related to your home colony so it could be a symbolic way of saying "I am no longer connected to my former home."
  • Somewhere between this and Fridge Sadness, when considering everything Alec Ryder went through to try and save Ellen. If he'd stayed in the Milky Way, a Synthesis ending to Mass Effect 3 not only would have seen a cure for Ellen, but also been pretty much exactly what he had one day hoped to gain from his AI research. Or Ellen may have been "processed" into mulch by the Reapers during their occupation of Earth.
  • SAM is always inside your head, experiencing what Ryder is experiencing, even during the most intimate moments. It's a bit of a surprise that none of the romance subquests brought up this little detail. This is somewhat addressed in Cora's romance scene where she asks SAM to temporarily disable his logging.
  • In the trilogy, most spacefaring races got to be that way due to mass effect field technology and mass relays deliberately left behind by the Reapers for these races to discover and co-opt. A lesson that the trilogy tried to hammer in, was that giving species a monumental technology upgrade before they are ready for it is disastrous as the technology found blinds them to other possibilities and makes them too dependent on that technology to be able to adapt if it fails. Think the Initiative will avoid that trap, since there are no mass relays in Andromeda? Wrong. The Initiative has now found Remnant Vaults and Remtech on a lot of habitable planets and are just utilizing them, like they previously did with mass relays. If something out there ever seizes control of these Remnant vaults, these people are in serious trouble. There's precedent because that's what The Archon was trying to do. The Archon nearly succeeded and the stinger hints that his second-in-command, The Primus, is going to be the new villain and may have learned how to control Remnant technology. While The Archon was reduced to the status of a Smug Snake, that wasn't an idle boast when he said he had all that power at his control and could decimate the populations of entire worlds.
  • Finding out The Scourge was a weapon is particularly concerning, because beyond Liam's point about how it is basically an interstellar minefield, there's the disturbing thought that whoever created it might still be around, and that they're well beyond the capabilities of even the Reapers.
  • On Voeld, one of the first conversations you hear is about a saboteur who may have blown herself up taking out a kett base when the remote trigger malfunctioned. When you investigate you discover she's alive and has been torturing kett extensively to desperately find out about her kidnapped family. While most may brush off the kett as asshole victims, Fridge Horror comes into play when we remember what the kett are and what happens to the people they deem "worthy".
  • On Elaaden, Lexi has Ryder scan several scavengers, and notes they're suffering a severe form of Sanity Slippage due to a problem with the unfreezing process. Suddenly Sloane Kelly's actions become a whole lot more unsettling.
  • The kett have a massive empire, and assuming the Archon's not just spouting BS when he says he's got the DNA of thousands in him they've been at their game for a long time. But given the existence of the Jardaan and their enemies, a horrific thought occurs: They're not the worst Andromeda has to offer. Not by a long shot.
  • If the kett incorporate the DNA of species they've found into their own, and they've got some krogan DNA from their captives... the likelihood is that once they've worked out some of the kinks (like the whole "permanent blood-rage" problem), the kett are going to get a lot harder to kill very soon.
  • Although humans now control Meridian and all vaults have been reset, causing terraforming operations to kick into full gear, the Scourge is still around. It was the Scourge that caused the vaults to malfunction and throw planets into chaos before, and it is not gone. This thing could very well react to active vaults by corrupting them once again, throwing angara and now Milky Way species colonies into danger all over again.
  • The codex says that the black hole that has parked itself in the gravitational center of the Heleus cluster is sucking up some of the scourge tendrils and by doing so, is mitigating the effects of the Scourge. Had that black hole not been there, planetary and space conditions might have been worse. It may be possible that even marginally habitable planets like Kadara, Elaaden, Havarl and Aya might have been worse hell holes, and the angara might've been driven to extinction. Is this the fate of species outside of Heleus?
  • Scanning the planet H-019 shows that an intelligent race was living on the planet before the Scourge made it uninhabitable; since the species weren't explicitly identified as angaran, it's possible that there was another sapient species that went extinct due to the Scourge and its creators, who target the Jardaan and their creations but doesn't care if another race gets caught in the crossfire. Liam was right to say they're worse than the Kett because the Kett honestly believe exaltation is the best thing than can happen to a species. Taking it even further, the Reapers also believed that harvesting species preserved them from extinction. The Scourge's creators? Extinction is just collateral damage. Going with the above Fridge Horror, they really are some "motherfuckers," alright.
  • Cora speaks highly of her fellow commandos who all stayed in the Milky Way during the Reaper war. Chances are, they were either sent to secure the Ardat-Yakshi monastery or deployed on Thessia. Or they were assigned to Admiral Hackett for Operation Hammer - and got slaughtered by Harbinger.
    • OK, I'll give you the latter two are possible (though both still have a decent chance for survival) but why you'd think it likely that one particular group of commandos among thousands in the Asari military would happen to be assigned to a particular single mission is beyond me. Plus, as important as the other battles were, it was a galactic scale war; they were just as likely to be stationed anywhere else in the Asari war effort. Cora's former comrades may very well be dead but they are no more likely to be so than any other Asari.
  • Although the Initiative as a whole is somewhat safe and stable at the end of the game, especially if you have set up outposts in multiple locations and raised viability to maximum, the turians are still in a lot of trouble. They are a dextro chirality species, and the only golden world that had dextro chirality flora and fauna was blown to bits with only a rocky irradiated "mantle" left. The Initiative as a whole might now have food, but the turians do not! They may still be subsisting on whatever reserves they brought with them on the Nexus. And with their ark badly damaged, they may have lost some additional dextro hydroponics capability too. They are the ones that now desperately need a pathfinder to find them a dextro golden world. Which leaves them in even more dire straits if Avitus hasn't been convinced to become the new turian pathfinder.
    • And if the quarians ever arrive, the situation will get worse, so they better hurry with that.
    • Nope. They now have the resources to simply build dextro hydroponics capability.
  • The angara have a habit of acting on their emotions and then dealing with the consequences... which is bad thing for a variety of reasons. The main reason is that emotions aren't all positive; hate, fear, pride and jealousy are emotions too. For example, Crimes of passion, such as violent crimes by vengeful exes and Murder the Hypotenuse would be occurring quite often among angarans. While they accept that relationships change as feelings do, this doesn't address the problem of what happens when one person's feelings change but another's don't; the angara are individuals so their emotions don't all go through the same changes or at the same time. While they may be polyamorous, what happens when one angara wants to be another's favorite? In addition, the angara could be one practical joke by a foreigner against a head-of-state away from a war. There is precedent because several angara caused division and stymied the war effort against the kett by forming the Roekaar faction; the Roekaar even became more and more like the kett over time, despite hating everything about them.
    • The Angara are not only more forward with their emotions, they are equally accepting of them. Assuming they go around offending everyone and accidentally starting wars is a purely human assumption. Just because we are an easily offended, warlike, expansionistic race at heart doesn't mean THEY are. An Angaran head of state would be even more aware of the importance of emotional freedom among political peers and would be equally forgiving. There is no better evidence for this cultural difference than Jaal being angry at his brother for joining the Roekar, punching him twice and then immediately hugging him warmly - and his brother accepting both. His brother even explains this to the watching Ryder.
    • Also, there are various good reasons for the rules and regulations humanity has around relationships, including some of the religious reasons. This includes the facts such as monogamy increases family stability, reduces the risk of inbreeding (and all the deformities that causes) and it eliminates the risk of sexually transmitted diseases while still providing sexual pleasure if both partners are STI-free and in faithful monogamy with each each other.
      • Purely a modern human convention. Monogamy is not as common in the animal kingdom as humans like to think, with even troops of our closest living relatives having vastly different approaches, including pairing but also polyamorous relationships. Monogamy only increases family stability in HUMANS. Among other animals their own sexual behaviour is what keeps their units stable. Remember, humans are the only species that looks after our infants for such an extended period (directly causing familial units to expand into tribal and later cultural ones to protect said infants), and we have the longest period of 'helplessness' in early life of any other animal that has ever lived due to our highly developed brains related to our body mass. Monogamy may reduce the risk of inbreeding (in humans) - but this is NOT the reason monogamy exists and is a consequence of it, not a cause. Also, ST Ds and awareness of them is another purely human social observation. No other species could even understand the concept, and monogamy is certainly not common enough among animals for ST Ds to have any kind of evolutionary link.
  • While most fans are quick to hate the kett, write them off, or both, there are some horrifying implications about the kett's situation. Data logs reveal they (or at least the Primus) states that Exaltation "lifted them out of tribulation and sorrow." What were the kett going through that made them think Exaltation was a good idea? Furthermore, is it possible that some would've taken Exaltation willingly - as in willingly without whatever mental conditioning is included in Exaltation?
  • There are going to be a lot of of problems between the Milky Way races and the angarans given their natures, and some more than others:
    • The emotionally extroverted angara would clash with the very disciplined turians. An angara could act on their emotions, whereas turian culture calls for a more measured reaction; given it's militant nature, this could include harsh punishments for certain impulsive actions on the angara's part. There is precedent for this as the turians immediately attacked humanity when First Contact was made.
      • This is what careful diplomacy is for. The game via Ryder and a few others reminds us constantly that we are the colonists in the Angara's cluster - we will largely give them the room and benefit of the doubt that may not happen in the Milky Way.
    • On a less problematic level than the turians, the angara would clash with the elcor; the elcor's measured "slow-and-steady" nature would clash with the angara's more impulsive nature.
      • If an Angara were to get bored or angry they would say so or leave. Also see above regarding careful diplomacy and interaction. This is their turf.
    • There could be problems with the krogan. Given the Blood Knight nature of the krogan, there is too much risk of a disagreement boiling over into violence, maybe even a Cycle of Revenge.
      • In the Milky Way, this would happen. But many of clan Nakmor are different, and most people do the krogan a disservice. Even Drack, a hoary old warrior, very quickly respected Ryder and Jaal, possbily two people he would have little time for if he stuck to stereotype. But the krogan are not just beserkers, they have a culture that it doesn't take a genius to figure out. In many ways, they are most like the angara of any race - forthright, often blunt and honest, proud warriors, determined survivors and they never shy from a fight. The krogan have far more in common with them than they do with asari, salarians or turians...and guess which races comprised the original Council back home? They also have too little in common with quarians, volus, hanar, drell or even humans to have many common paths of reference. But the angara? Kindred spirits.
  • Look at exactly what is happening on Havaarl, and you would recognize many similarities to cancer. Explosive growth rate is the problem - check! The organisms exhibiting this growth rate isn't invasive, but endemic to the biological system - check! Exponential growth consuming other healthier organisms with no signs of slowing down - check! Mutations probably spreading to other flora and fauna - check!
  • The citadel species have access to QEC technology, so why could the arks not send/receive messages from the Milky Way? QEC stands for Quantum Entanglement Communications. Atoms at both points are quantum-entangled, meaning that what happens with 1 atom happens with the other. This produces INSTANT communications no matter the physical distance. So even tho they are in another galaxy, they should still have communications with the citadel. Yes it has been 600 years, but asari and krogan live much longer than that (Drack is 1400+), so people at the citadel should still be aware of the arks and their arrival time, ready to communicate with them once they awaken from cryo. The only solution?: There is noone at the citadel. The Reapers won.
    • This isn't conclusive. The Citadel is severely damaged in two out of three endings, and it probably took a lot of damage before that when the Reapers captured it. The Reapers likely destroyed the QEC communicators regardless of ending.
    • There is absolutely nothing to indicate that 1: the Reapers didn't notice and track the Andromeda Initiative leaving the Milky Way and 2: the Reapers do not posses the technology to follow them.
      • The Reaper focus is on the Milky Way galaxy, not every other galaxy out there. That out of the way, there is no reason the Reapers would even know about the Initiative until it was way too late. The entire project was moved up directly to avoid the pending invasion and by the time the Reapers gleaned info about it, the Nexus and Arks were well away into intergalactic space. There would be no logical reason to follow, since that isn't the Reaper imperative. Their function is to clear the Milky Way interstellar Mass Effect-based civilisations from the galaxy every turn of the 50,000 year cycle, not to chase down what are in the grand scheme of things a handful of escapees on their way to another galaxy. It wouldn't be surprising if what the Initiative achieved was also done by species in previous cycles.
    • When the Hyperion arrives at the Nexus, somebody (I think it was Addison) notes that there had been no response to the beacons telling the Milky Way that the Nexus had arrived in Andromeda. The way she said it sounded like they were expecting a quick response, so the Initiative does have QEC tech. Also, SAM notes to Ryder that the Pathfinders' implants and the Tempest each use QEC to reach their respective SAM Node.
      • There are too many variables: do the QE Cs still function (if not, you can't just re-entangle a quantum pair when one of them is no longer contained and the other is 2.4 million light years away)? Which ME3 ending happened? Is there a technical glitch at the MW end that is causing lag? Is there more lag than anticipated for some reason? Are the people (if there are any) in the MW choosing not to answer for some reason, or assessing the best response? Could they be holding back for now because they would have to go into detail regarding the Reapers and what had happened? Are they compiling 600 years of history? Even if the MW races won, they could have subsequently slipped into a technological dark age and be literally unable to answer. Is there an interstellar phenomenon affecting communications, like say...a dark energy phenomenon, a 'Scourge' if you like? Are the kett just blocking communications outside of the cluster? How do we even know if our beacon messages have been received?
      • The simplest solution is that the receivers in the Milky Way were damaged and destroyed during the chaos of the war and no one could repair them. If a QEC device was destroyed, either by the Reapers themselves or by the successive burst of energy from the Crucible, it's certainly not going to be easy to just replace them - the hardware might be reparable, but the entangled particle might simply be lost. And at that point, you're back to good old traditional communication, which... That's gonna take a few centuries just to pick up, let alone respond.
      • All things considered, and lacking any information on what canonically is happening in the Milky Way, we have the two options offered by Captain Spock: They are unable to respond. They are unwilling to respond. Reasons for the former have been covered already, reasons for the latter could include the modern Milky Way residents simply not wanting anything to do with the Initiative for their own reasons, or taking a "wait and see" to see if the Initiative survives since they can't do anything to help them. Or, in classic Milky Way fashion, the bureaucrats in charge have spent the entire time since receiving the original signal arguing about what to do.
  • Given that the Reaper War was a galactic-wide conflict that ravaged basically every planet ever civilized by the then-contemporary Milky Way races and then some, the possibility that the QEC transmitters and beacons were destroyed during the war is extremely high, along with the possibility that anyone actually affiliated with the Initiative who stayed behind to monitor said beacons being killed or huskfied. So, in addition to the beacons likely being destroyed, anyone who actually knows what said beacons are for is either dead or a husk. Or both.
  • Checking the Codex entry on the Tempest's engine, it's noted that it's based on the Normandy's own engines. Y'know, the highly experimental, classified engines built as a co-operative effort between humans and turians. SAM even admits it doesn't know how the Initiative got its mitts on the design. So, either the Benefactor stole the design from the Systems Alliance / the turian government, or they managed to steal it from Cerberus, without anyone being the wiser. (Or as an alternative, they didn't have to steal it, already having people in place to acquire the documents for them.)
    • As mentioned in Mass Effect 3, salarian operatives stole the schematics to the Normandy's stealth drive and subsequently churned out dreadnoughts capable of pulling the same stealth moves as the SR-2. Given that there's at least one ex-STG operative hanging around with the initiative, it's entirely possible Garson leveraged them into doing something similar.
  • Those Remnant vaults and their pillars are big. And take a lot of metal to make. Somewhere out there, there's probably a whole bunch of planets the Jardaan had to mine the crap out of to get those metals.
    • To assuage those fears, they may have simply used "dead worlds" - ones completely incapable of supporting life no matter how many Vaults you stuck on it - to get the resources in question. No harm done to any innocent races in the process.
  • While they have no way of knowing it, the Initiative's goal of eventually bridging the gap between Andromeda and the Milky Way would (in any non-destroy endings, anyways) unleash the Reapers upon the Andromeda galaxy in the event this extraordinarily far-fetched goal ever succeeded. Depending on exactly which ending was taken, this could either be a very good or very bad thing.
    • Control would depend largely on Shepard's morality, but the worst case scenario would likely be a Renegade Shepard sending the Reapers in to vaporize anything that looks at the Initiative's members funny. A Paragon Shepard would likely have the Reapers expand their role as "protectors of the galaxy" to include Andromeda.
    • Synthesis would mean that the Reapers and the post-Synthesis civilizations would likely have a very contentious interaction with their "unaffected" bretheren, though it could also mean the medical advances needed to cure diseases like the one afflicting the Pathfinder's mother could be found.
    • Refusal would likely mean the Reaper invasion would be unleashed upon Andromeda, with all the death and destruction that entails. While it's possible the native Andromedan races would stand a slightly better chance due to their technology not conforming to standard Reaper/Milky Way tech, the fact that Andromeda is hinted to currently be waging a massive war of it's own with the Kett would likely mean the native races in question would be blindsided and wiped out by the sudden arrival of a massive horde of genocidal space robots.

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