Follow TV Tropes


Fridge / Modern Warfare

Go To

Fridge Logic in Modern Warfare.

    open/close all folders 

     Fridge Brilliance 

  • During their assassination mission into Chernobyl, Price and MacMillain leave a lot of corpses behind them even if they mostly evade the guards. You'd think those corpses would be found and reported and this would call off the sale, right? But after getting past the armored patrol, the two will come across a group of Russians dumping bodies of soldiers who "couldn't be bought out." And later on, we find several instances of wild dogs eating corpses of other Russian troops who were killed and their corpses left in the open. It's pretty clear that quite a few of the Russian troops were murdered by their traitorous comrades for their loyalty, so any patrols that found the dead sentries would assume that they were just other soldiers who wouldn't be bought out and were shot by the ones who were.
  • There's been much talk about the Russian Army having incorrect firearms such as the AK-47, which has been obsolete since the 70's. But, read into the games and the answer comes to you. The Russian government is now Ultranationalist, and one of their defining features is their extreme nostalgic patriotism. Since the AK-47 is considered to be THE Russian gun, it somewhat makes sense that they'd reintroduce it.
    • There could also be plenty of old weapons lying around that are still serviceable. Its much cheaper to arm troops with existing weapons rather than manufacture new ones. Its not like the AK-47 is a horrible gun, especially for its original price tag.
  • Lieutenant General Shepherd's name. After losing 30,000 lives in the Middle East and hearing the reaction of the world, he decides to unite the people of the US into a war against the Ultranationalists. A shepherd is a person who leads or guides sheep, either with herding dogs (An actual threat-The invasion of the US) or by deception (A bag of feed that the sheep follow-Using TF 141 to gain information and betray them to make himself a war hero, and eliminating any links between him and his actions.) He was buried in Arlington, therefor he deceived the entire US.
  • The brilliance of the level composition in the first game's second act: "All Ghillied Up" comes right after "Shock and Awe". In the latter, we witness a nuclear explosion and its immediate aftermath in first person. In the former, we sneak through Pripyat ten years after the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown (not the same as a fission bomb, but similar in technogenic origin). In other words, by using a flashback, the writers have shown us the future look of the immediately preceding level.
  • At first, Modern Warfare 2 seems to have a ton of plot holes, until you go back through the game and look at everything from the perspective that General Shepherd is plotting to betray everyone by working with Makarov, and the Russians were planning to invade the US anyway. Suddenly, a lot of stuff makes a whole lot more sense, like how PFC Allen joins Makarov's group so quickly, how Shepherd knew how to reach Rojas, how the Russians managed to get inside the United States so quickly even with the ACS, how the Russians so quickly latched onto the presence of an American agent as an excuse to invade the US, and why Shepherd kills Ghost and Roach once they have Makarov's intel cache - which would doubtless implicate Shepherd in assisting Makarov.
  • Why doesn't the US just nuke Russia in retaliation for the invasion? It seems odd that a standing military policy of deterrence would be suddenly abandoned, even in the face of potential MAD. Except thirty thousand Americans already died in a nuclear detonation five years previously in the first Modern Warfare game. Considering the United States military and public's current sensitivity to casualties, losing that many men to nuclear weapons would scar the collective American consciousness with a tragedy that would probably make use of nuclear weapons even more taboo than normal.
    • Also consider that the Russians surprise attack the Washington D.C. area and presumably kill several high-level politicians. They might not have had the necessary codes to launch the things (They probably tightened up their own nuclear security in response to the rogue launch in "No Fighting in the War Room"), especially since you search the President's bunkers and the White House and can't find him. Also, the Russians cracked the Americans' satellite codes. If any of the missiles were guided or controlled by satellites, the Americans can't be sure they'll go where they were pointed.
  • In Modern Warfare 2, the infamous "No Russian" line. Someone just told me what it meant-Don't speak in Russian, speak in English so that it sounds like the attackers are American! The body and weapons make it even more damning! There's also the "You can only walk in that level" terrible joke explanation...
  • Another No Russian one: obviously shooting any of the terrorists will lead them to brand Allen a traitor and kill him in retaliation. But why would throwing a flashbang or grenade too close to the group lead to the same reaction? Because getting hit by an unexpected blast would cause them to cry out in Russian, giving their true nationalities away. Most people, even if fluent in another language and have it ingrained in their heads, will yell in their native tongue in a sudden moment of severe pain/surprise. Pvt. Allen's stupid act would have jeapordized the mission just as much as wearing a shirt saying "WE'RE NOT AMERICANS, WE'RE RUSSIANS!"
    • Also, Makarov already knows that Allen is a spy, so he'd be extra suspicious of any behavior that might be seen as trying to sabotage the mission.
  • A moment of gameplay Fridge Brilliance in Modern Warfare 2: Captain Price set off the nuclear missile towards Washington at the end of Contingency, even after he uses it as an EMP to knock out power, including the red dot sights on your guns. While story-wise it doesn't make much sense, by creating a justification for limiting the effectiveness of aiming down the sights, Infinity Ward was able to increase the difficulty curve naturally, without resorting to Fake Difficulty tactics like Russian soldier spamming or trial and error fight composition.
  • The introduction screen, with all the various connections being made across the map, was Fridge Brilliance in a way: General Shepard and Makarov were really two sides of the same coin: Makarov hated Americans, and building on the Russia Zakhaev built up, he faked a terrorist attack to insight Russia to war. Shepard on the other hand, made sure the defenses where down enough to allow the war to begin; he wanted a reason to invade Russia as vengeance for Zakhaev. Zakhaev in turn nuked the American soldiers in Iraq as vengeance against Captain Price, would blew his arm off with a sniper rifle. It's fridge brilliance because 1 shot changed the fate of the world in a way, showing how one event can lead to hundreds of unforeseen possibilities. - The Great Cool Energy
    • Also, I just realised that the name "Shepherd" is perhaps a warning of the fact his leadership depends on blindness (i.e., not asking questions) on the part of his followers... Following like sheep, because they haven't seen his plot.
  • At first, the way Shepherd kills Roach seems needlessly sadistic, and just an excuse to prove that Shepherd is really evil, until one considers all of Roach's insanely close close calls, like losing his grip on the ice wall in the first level, falling off the rooftop in Rio and getting hit in the head by falling rubble in the Gulag, and surviving every time. Clearly, Shepherd knows just how hard this man is to kill. Why do you think his nickname is "Roach?"
  • Just now, I realized that Price's actions in Modern Warfare 2, especially with what happened in Washington, D.C., seem a lot less of a shocking twist and more of a violent peak when keeping track of his actions in the first Modern Warfarebeing unstealthy in Pripyat before finding Imran Zakhaev (optional for the player, but maybe not for Price), thinking of beating info out of Sgt. Kamarov ("Not yet."), beating info out of Al-Asad (although I think this is more understandable than the other cases) seems to me that Price became a very impatient and ruthless soldier over the years, and the years in the gulag made things even worse.
  • Since there's no such thing as Fridge Humor (is there?), considering what happened in Modern Warfare 3, it looked like Makarov... dropped the Soap. With explosives, no less.
  • The Russian evidence for their casus belli appears to make little sense, particularly since Makarov is a well known figure and he loses two men besides Allen. But when I looked back at No Russians briefing scene, it hit me: Shepherd says Makarov "trades blood for money" and is not "loyal to a flag or country or any set of ideals" and you initially think that's wrong because he was part of the Ultranationlist Party. Then you realize that Makarov severed all ties from the ruling party and built that reputation deliberately as a form of Plausible Deniability so when he executed this mission the Russians could claim he and his men had been hired and that Allen was their handler from the CIA. - Obssesed Nuker
  • A minor one about 'No Russian' from a meta perspective, an undercover agent will end up shooting the civilians anyway to maintain his cover.
  • Another minor one, related to 'No Russian': Both times you deal with Makarov in the game, it is during a level involving airplanes. The first one, near the beginning, is in an airport. The last one, towards the end, is in an airplane boneyard, perhaps symbolizing how everything has fallen apart.
    • Also, the fight up to Makarov in the end of the third game begins with a slow walk to an Elevator.
    • How is Makarov first revealed in MW3? Stepping out of a helicopter. 3 for 3 on Makarov and air transportation.
    • Makarov's final appearance is trying to leave in a helicopter. I see a trend.
  • Shepherd's speech during the intros to S.S.D.D./Team Player are just standard Call of Duty Painting the Medium and exposition except after the betrayal, when they become a much more fleshed-out version of his Motive Rant in "Endgame"
  • Fridge Brilliance: Some of this in Modern Warfare 2 once the smaller details add up, and it all makes the storyline more depressing: General Shepherd doesn't die until after he's executed his main plan. His stated goal of galvanizing America into fighting for itself must succeed, considering the Russian invasion has already happened and been turned back. The only difference is, the job of heading up America's military response will go to someone else. It doesn't help that Price and Soap never actually clear their own names and kill Shepherd while being considered terrorists themselves.
    • Shepherd notes in the second cutscene that "We can't give you your freedom, but we can teach you how to acquire it for yourselves, and that, my friends, is worth more than a whole Army base of steel." This seems forgettable at first because the Justified Tutorial takes the form of the player training local militia but he's actually talking about the American population and his goals for using an invasion to galvanize the nation and inspire a huge boost in enlistment.
  • Private Allen is more tragic than he appears at first; because Shepherd's been orchestrating the whole thing, Allen was dead from the get-go, and committed an atrocity he thought would help prevent something even worse down the line, only for it to be part and parcel of Shepherd's Batman Gambit.
  • How does TF 141 turn into a Redshirt Army, despite being made of the best fighting men on the planet? Note how General Shepherd uses Soap and Roach's assault on the Ultranationalist base as an example to the rest of the men: "Two men take on an entire base. I expect more from you." An excuse to constantly have them sent against overwhelming odds (and have them nicely cleaned out when he finally brings in Shadow Company).
  • Both General Shepherd and Sergeant Foley are smart. Foley notoriously orders Ramirez to DO EVERYTHING, precisely because, as noted elsewhere on this wiki, when you have a Player Character in your squad, you damn well make use of him. By the same token, General Shepherd knows what two player characters acting in concert can do, and uses them inspire Suicidal Overconfidence in the non-player characters, as well as killing Roach the moment he has outlived his usefulness.
  • PFC Allen joining Makarov's gang seems to move too fast. The Russians react to Makarov's killing of Allen too quickly. The Russians mobilize for the invasion of the United States too quickly. Then it becomes apparent that Makarov was working with Shepherd to skew Russian opinion against the United States, and the Ultranationalist-oriented government of Russia was preparing to invade the United States long before Allen was killed, as the Russians were already finished cracking the ACS module well before Soap and Roach got there - and Shepherd may have in fact deliberately delayed their retrieval so the Russians could pull it off. Looking at the entire game through the lens of Shepherd betraying the United States to Makarov and the Russians in a heavily-prepared gambit puts the entire game in a vastly different light.
  • Remember, during "The Gulag", when Shepherd said "The Navy's not in a talking mood"? Imagine if your home country was just invaded by fanatics of a military superpower and have murdered thousands of civilians and you're finally being given a chance at revenge (a running theme in this game). Shepherd's not stalling them; they're too blinded by revenge and anger to lay off.
  • The helicopters that the Russians fire at in "Exodus"? They are evacuating civilians.
  • Why did the Russians attack Washington, D.C. and random civilian-heavy areas along the East Coast? Shepherd used Makarov's influence to set them up to fail, so the safety of the plan is ensured. Plus the Russians are furious about the airport attack and it's stated that they wanted a thousand dead Americans for every victim of the attack.
    • Don't forget that the Ultranationalists already have a history of committing massacres on their own populace, and they actually hate Americans.
  • The Americans seem awfully hesitant to nuke Russia in retaliation for a land invasion. Except that thirty thousand Americans have already been killed in nuclear fire five years previously. That kind of an atrocity leaves a serious mental scar on the collective American consciousness, and it may explain why the US didn't nuke Russia, for fear of MAD.
    • Also, Shepherd does tell his superiors that Makarov, not Russia as a whole, is responsible for the nuke. Regardless of how badly the grunts want to counter-invade, it would make sense that Shepherd's sold the people who actually make decisions on the idea that despite everything, Makarov is the enemy and not Russia.
  • So hey, Shadow Company. A group of American soldiers that dress all in black and are amoral as all hell. They also seem to answer directly to General Shepard. It took me about five minutes to realize they are essentially Blackwater made official.
  • A lot of stuff about the nuke going off above DC doesn't make sense, until you realize one thing: it isn't one nuke, it's six. The MIRVs never separated.
  • With the same nuke, you may notice something is off when you start the next mission. There's no music. When the mission after that starts, and you are told that the White House still has power, the music comes back. A subtle hint that the music provides, that there's only music when there's power.
  • The loading screen for the final mission indicates Price is already considered an international terrorist, despite only having tried to kill Shepard just five minutes ago. Then you remember that nuke he set off; destroying the International Space Station, not to mention killing thousands of American soldiers and civilians with the E.M.P. blast which, while shutting down the Russian war machine, would also have caused all the transport helicopters being used by the Americans to evacuate civilians to crash, while also turning every American tank and BTR into a metal coffin.
  • A recurring theme throughout the series is the different between the armed forces of America and Britain. America's missions are generally about desperate, large-scale fights through amazing Scenery Gorn, and eventually either dying or triumphing over impossible odds, whereas Britain's soldiers usually spend their time crawling through dark places, slitting throats and performing some questionable acts. So how does MW3 represent this? By having the new British and American PCs' names being Burns and Frost. Awesome.
  • In the third game, the mission "Persona non Grata" has what apparently looks like a group of Spetsnaz Operatives (complete with Military helicopters) with weapons and uniforms comparable to those of Shadow Company attacking Nikolai's safehouse in Himachal Pradesh. Seems kind of weird that Makarov would be able to equip his own men with the best military gear, not to mention immediately attack Soap and Price just when these same Inner Circle soldiers were attacked by Shadow Company not long before, right? Except that it's more of a case of foreshadowing that Makarov actually has most of the Russian military under his influence or control at that point.
    • On a related note, it now becomes clear by the third game that Makarov had indeed been feeding Shepard false information from the get-go, and had much more resources and men under his control than what Task Force 141 initially thought. It's even heavily implied that had Soap and Price not gone on their revenge mission to kill Shepherd, it's very likely that Makarov would have simply deployed these same soldiers to Site Hotel Bravo against Shadow Company in an attempt to kill the General.
    • It would also make sense for Makarov to send these operatives to kill Soap and Price, as his regular mooks had repeatedly failed to kill them prior, and he wanted to ensure they were dead.
  • Another one from the third game: Frost just disappears from the game after the Berlin mission. Seems weird right? Except that earlier in that mission he had just been injured in the arms by shrapnel from an exploding door. It's most likely that he wasn't involved in the second-to-last mission due to being treated for injuries sustained, thus being replaced by a random Red Shirt.
  • Makarov is introduced in MW2 as a mercenary who will commit any sort of atrocity so long as he gets paid. Fittingly enough, he's executed by Captain Price.
  • Why does the level "Whiskey Hotel" lack an intro cutscene? Because the satellites are still down from the EMP.
  • Why do the Russians in MW2 use foreign guns? They had a Civil War in the first game. The conflict could have became a proxy war and the US, Europe, Israel, and South Africa armed the loyalists.
  • Soap's death seems to come out of nowhere initially, because he's the walking embodiment of Made of Iron and falling off a building alone shouldn't be enough to kill him. But keep in mind that the injuries he suffered at the end of the second game never had time to fully heal, and he's still running around on those barely-patched up wounds. The fall just exacerbated that condition to the point that his body couldn't take it anymore.
  • Makarov, despite being almost always impeccably dressed, never wears a necktie of any sort. Price finally puts one (of a sort) on him in the climax of the third game, leading directly to the villain's death.
  • All the games' endings are examples of Call of Duty's motto "No One Fights Alone" in action: In 4 You need Griggs to drag out of the flames from the car and (unintentionally) into a position to shoot Zakhaev, the Loyalists to distract Zakhaev, Price to give you the pistol, and the Loyalists again to extract you. In MW2 you need Price to save you from Shepherd, and then you need to save Price, then you need Price and Nikolai to save you. In MW3 Yuri distracts and wounds Makarov, allowing Price to finish him off. They both needed Nikolai and juggernaut suits for their rampage to work.
    • Another way you could spin it is that the reason why the antagonists of the series, Zakhaev, General Shepherd, and Makarov all failed because they were lonely men with lofty ambitions. When you spend too much time looking over your shoulder for an enemy you lose sight of the friends you have right in front of you, they made enemies of everyone and didn't rely on anyone but themselves, their plans were doomed to fail as a result.
    • "It doesn't take the most powerful nations on Earth to create the next global conflict. Just the will of a single man." -Makarov. Technically correct, but also his eventual downfall.
    • Double fridge brilliance: The only group of antagonists to work together were the Four Horsemen of Call of Duty 4. And who had the most success of the enemies you faced?
  • Makarov is pretty much the Angel of Death of the Call of Duty series. Whenever he shows up, someone important (usually a PC) dies. Chronological order: He was the driver from The Coup. Al-Fulani dies. He detonates the nuke that kills Jackson (and Vasquez). He's there (duh) at No Russian, a massacre, and kills Allen, after attempting to kill Yuri. He gives Price and Soap the intel that allows them to kill Shepherd (and the wound Soap suffers in the process certainly doesn't help him). During Turbulence, he kills Harkov and his squadmates. During Blood Brothers, he kills Kamarov and Soap (moment of silence). During the last level, he kills Yuri before meeting his end. The one exception is during One Shot, One Kill. This is double fridge brilliance: first of all, it's before his descent into violent insanity. Second of all, even the Angel of Death spares people.
  • Why does Vorshevsky and Vorshevsky alone have the Russian nuclear launch codes? Because Russian nuclear security has been compromised three times already; twice by Zakhaev (the nuke in al-Asad's capital and the silos) and again by Price. By keeping absolute personal control over those codes, he ensures that another incident like Zakhaev or Price launching missiles won't happen again. And it works.
  • The SAS in the level you played survived. Why? If you look closely you can see that they are all wearing gas masks. The blasts weren't that large, so only the ones that were close to the truck died. There's still a large SAS squadron out there.
  • Between Makarov and Yuri, you might eyeroll and go 'how many ex-Spetsnaz ultra-badasses did Zakhaev have on his payroll back in the 90s anyway'? And then you think about it a little more and realize that these are the two mooks he had as driver and shotgun in his own car, i.e., as his personal bodyguards. Of course that job is given to the two most experienced/best-trained guys he has.
  • When Makarov shows up at the end of Turbulence, his name is green. This is commonly considered a glitch or technical limitation, until you realize Agent Harkov (the PC) is listed in the intro of the mission as "Inside Man?", along with dialog from the FSO agents saying there was a traitor. This means that you became an FSO agent, flipped over to Inner Circle, then flipped back to the FSO, all while not tipping off anyone but Captain Price until the incident takes place.
  • In reality, deep cover operations take months, if not years of preparation to plan. And they're most certainly not handed off to low ranking members of the military, if they can avoid it. Knowing how to speak the language of the enemy (at least topically), acting like them in dress and behavior, and having cultural trappings/trivia certainly helps. An experienced intelligence asset would be chosen in reality, not a Private First Class like Allen. But that's where the fridge brilliance comes in — Shepherd never intended Allen to successfully run a deep cover operation; instead he was meant to be the patsy all along. Allen was just meant to be a hired gun to cause some chaos before being killed by Makarov, therefore his mission was to be killed all along.


     Fridge Horror 

  • Fridge Horror: Those transport helicopters evacuating civilians you spent the entire mission Of Their Own Accord protecting? Price killed them all when he set off the E.M.P., which would have caused all the copters to shut off mid-air and crash. Talk about Shooting the Dog. Not to mention all the U.S. servicemen who would have suffocated inside their tanks and armored fighting vehicles, just like the Russian soldiers suffering the same fate in Second Sun.
    • The guys in the air are in trouble. Even if you know how to do a reasonably good crash landing you're not going to have much time to react. The guys in the tanks, IFVs and other vehicles will be just fine, though, assuming nothing lands on top of them. Those hatches operate on hydraulics, not electronics. You do not need power to open those things even if power fails. That particular Russian vehicle in the game, if I remember correctly, was designed with electronic locks that need power to unlock. Those guys have a problem. Everyone else should be just fine, assuming they aren't killed by the rain helicopters.
    • Price's EMP is going to not only cripple the Russian military offensive, since it relies on airpower and ships to move its troops but it also is going to wipe out all of the American airpower in the area as well as the evacuation choppers. Price's statement, "Do anything to stop the war" wasn't hyperbole.
    • A helicopter suffering a simple systems shutdown won't crash outright — it's actually a very survivable situation. As a helicopter descends, the air rushing upward forces the main prop to spin, causing a countering effect to the descent. This is called autorotation, and makes any failure other than a catastrophic one (i.e., the main shaft has locked up) of a helicopter's engines much more survivable than that of a fixed-wing aircraft, especially at low altitude and speed.
    • Here's something to think about: Before the strike, the Russians were running on a full tilt roaring rampage. Then suddenly they lose all of their air support, ground support, and communications- deep in enemy territory, surrounded by a bunch of well-armed and pissed-off natives who know the terrain better. Almost makes you feel sorry for the poor bastards. Almost.
      • According to MW3, they lost most, if not all, of the strike force.
  • Remember al-Asad? They guy mentioned above under the Dirty Coward trope? Take a closer look at the posters and walls during the first mission in Modern Warfare 2. The man who nukes his own capital is being remembered as a martyr. Similarly, Modern Warfare 3 has, at one point, several news headlines. In one of them, General Shepherd is recorded as buried in Arlington.
  • The absence of Ramirez and his Army Ranger buddies may seem jarring at first, given how the ending foreshadowed a quick and decisive response against Russia, but the 75th Ranger Regiment and Delta Force are closely linked together in the Special Forces community (both are part of the U.S Army) and both serve the role of direct and decisive action in war. Elite units like the Delta Force and Navy Seals are the first responders in sensitive situations, they would be the first among an invasion force led by U.S Forces and would handle all of the most high-value missions like counter-terrorism, hostage rescue, assassination, etc. This essentially means that the Delta Force isn't too far off from what we were playing in the last game and for all we know a guy like Ramirez from the Ranger team may be fighting by your side in the campaign.
    • Watch the briefing for MW3's Black Tuesday mission very carefully, and you'll see that one of the units fighting in the Manhattan area is the 75th Rangers.
  • During Yuri's flashback Makarov tells him, "I know what you have done, Yuri. I know what you have told them." The implication? Yuri was the one who told Shepherd about the massacre, and allowed him to start World War III by attempting to prevent it, just like Allen.
  • At the end of the first game, its mentioned in a new report at the end that there is leadership crisis in the Ultranationalists. Most people would probably consider the news story a cover for the assassination of Zakhaev. However, considering the sequels, this news broadcast is foreshadowing: it isn't a cover story: it is talking about the struggle between Vorshevsky and Makarov for control of the Ultranationalists. Ultimately, it is Vorshevsky who wins, but Makarov seems to hold most of the cards by the end...
  • At first, you may wonder why PFC. Allen is sent to infiltrate Makarov's circle - after all, he is a U.S. Army Ranger, which amounts to a heroic Elite Mook, and an experienced spy would be better suited towards covert ops such as these. Then you learn that Shepherd was orchestrating everything from the beginning, and it all makes sense - Allen wouldn't be trained as a spy, and therefore he would be unable to suppress how disturbing he finds Makarov, outing him as an American CIA agent.
  • An in-universe one is going to happen with the Russian side once all of this comes out. No matter what Shepherd's role in this all is, they're going to left with the realization they launched an unproved attack on both Europe as well as the United States which resulted in millions of innocent deaths orchestrated by one of their own countrymen as a False Flag Operation. It's the equivalent of Americans discovering 9/11 Truthers were right. Even if they don't care about the American or European casualties, all of the dead Russian soldiers are going to be the case there.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: