Spoilers for the end of Uncharted 4
And….I’ll digest and we’ll talk….later….but….
Man they’re good. I had a menu of endings that wouldn’t have surprised me, and THAT surprised me. The fade to crash bandicoot (which I was SO much better at, which was cool) and the kid? NOT expected. Shit, I’m sort of surprised it ended happily.
We’ll discuss. In a bit.
Ok, here we go.
There’s a lot of good to talk about here, and so very much to talk about that we should have bloggage until I’m off to vacation with rum and sun and all that (weather looks great for next week, knock wood), so, given all that good, let’s get the bad out of the way first, shall we? Then we can praise it and it’ll feel better about itself.
You know what I’m gonna start with. You know.
See? You were right!
What, exactly, the fuck, was that? She just LEFT? I mean, I figured that they would pooch out on having us fight her, but she didn’t do anything? ANYTHING? WHAT?
Now….. I could be charitable here. I could say that they were saving it. Setting up some dynamic in a sequel. She becomes the older, sassy Sully to Cassie Drake (the PC) in some sequel at some point. An enemy turned friend and mentor. (Hey, Tomb Raider! I’ll see your tough woman PC and give you TWO tough women! And magnetic rock shoes!) I could do that. But I don’t think they MEANT to do that.
Cuz what I think they MEANT to do was to have us fight her. Or have Raef do something awful to her. Or to have Sam kill her. Or something.
Cuz what that felt was edited. It felt like there was something there, and then, at some late hour, they said “Umm…..we gotta cut that. It doesn’t work, we’ll get bad press, whatever.” Or some suit from Sony said “Dudes, you can’t do that.” It was like those times when we used to watch movies and you just KNEW that when the blu ray came out there was going to be a deleted scene that fit right….there. It just felt like something was hastily, maybe even clumsily, chopped out.
And maybe it is the suits at Sony. I mean, if, in fact, there WAS some badass, even gruesome thing with Nadine that ended up being edited out, that’s two games in a row where something with a woman bad guy didn’t make it in the final cut. The first draft of TLOU had Tess, the badass that Joel is with in the very beginning who dies at the State House there NOT dying at the statehouse, but being abandoned TO die at the State House and, seeking revenge for the betrayal and Ellie for herself, chases them, becoming the overarching bad guy that that game kinda sorta didn’t have at all.
Instead, she died off screen. OFF SCREEN! In a game that was stomach turningly gruesome.
But either way….. if it is some master plan for a sequel, or if it was cut by ND willingly or not, it didn’t work. And it was frustrating. There should have been, could have been, something far greater there.
Here’s the thing: yes to everything you said–and yet! I also kind of LIKED that she just left. Because we were JUST YESTERDAY talking about how it would be awesome if the main characters said “hell with this” and went home instead of sticking around for a final confrontation. This is pretty much exactly what Nadine did…and it was kind of awesome.
One could argue that Nadine is the only character in this scene with any damn sense: she knows when to walk away, which no one else ever seems to.* Granted, she only walks away when her entire army of mercenaries is dead, so she’s still working on the whole ‘cut your losses’ concept (she could reasonably have walked away a long time ago) but SHE’S still alive!
Also, I like to think that, like Sam, she grabbed a handful of gold on the way out. And that she had insurance policies on all her dudes. I’m sure mercenary army insurance is outrageously expensive, but in this case, totally worth it.
So I’m into it in that way. But of course this interpretation is complicated by the fact that she’s a woman. If a major dude villain said “hell with this” and walked away like that, we would probably think it was completely awesome. It would play totally against all our expectations, which is the kind of thing we tend to enjoy. Whereas in this case, it plays against some of our expectations (there will be a big final fight with this character), which I like, but completely fulfills our other expectations (we will not dramatically kill a female character), which I don’t like as much.
And I do think that it would have been totally fine and appropriate–if not expectations-thwarting–to have just HAD a big final fight with Nadine and finally killed her, not in some sort of gross sexualized way but just in a matter-of-fact “we were both trying to kill each other and eventually I succeeded” way, so, yeah, the fact that they seem to have felt they HAD to play with expectations to get around that–even though I like when stories play with expectations–is a little frustrating.
So in summary, I kind of liked this, but also have mixed feelings about it because of all the reasons you laid out.
Apparently gender politics is complicated.
*Although I should also note, to be fair, that Nathan was TRYING to walk away, and Rafe was the one who wouldn’t let it go. They could all have gotten out with pockets full of pirate coins, but no, Rafe had to have his final swordfight-in-a-burning ship.
Spoiled rich kids, man…
Hmm….yes, we did say that about endings, but when it came to Nate/Elena/Sam there were some key differences. 1) Nate was proposing an alternative. “Come home! Be like us! Have a happy family!” We’re led to believe that isn’t the case with merciless Nadine which leads to 2) she’s damn merciless. NOTHING we’ve seen indicates she is someone to say “Well, fuck it. Bygones.” She would have at least shot Raef. Or someone!
She so did grab some treasure on the way out, though. That’s clear.
Yup–expections. That woman thing.
And playing with expectations is great, so long as the playing makes sense. I’ve talked on the end to TW2, where Geralt and Letho (that bald dude) wind up shaking hands and drinking, but that MADE SENSE in the stream of the narrative. To just sort of get to the climax and yell “Psyche!” and run off is not the same. TW2? Had me going “Yeah….of COURSE there’s no fight!” This made me think they wimped out. Or chopped something out.
Gender is complicated. But complicated isn’t something that should be avoided. And this felt avoided.
It’s like this game did JUST enough with women characters to say “Hey lookie! We overturned a trope or two!” without actually overturning anything at all. Or not as much as they could have. Elena never really got past the “I’m here to be the wife/love interest” thing. She was an INTERESTING wife/love interest, sure. But in the end, she was just a trope with some interest layered over. Nadine was a strong, interesting, independent baddie, but in the end, she was yet another woman character the game protected.
Art is supposed to take on complicated, not dance around it, and this was dancing.
Also, yeah, we’ll talk on that swordfight later. I have a whole thing on that swordfight. Two, really. When we’re done with Nadine there.
THAT is definitely true. Why not just shoot them all and loot the ship at her leisure? It’s not as if she has any objection to any of these guys being dead.
I agree she’s damn merciless, and also extremely practical. It would have made perfect sense for her to just kill them all and keep the loot. I mean, if the ship was already on fire, than it might be a reasonable calculation for her to think “this situation is highly unstable, I’m just going to check out now with my pocketful of gold and leave these guys to fight it out/burn to death,” but she was the one who set the ship on fire on her way out, right?
So if things were basically fine with the ship, and she was in control at that moment, why not use that control to eliminate the competition (including the former partner who turned on her–I bet she wouldn’t forgive that anytime soon)?
Basically, we have to assume that she somehow didn’t think she could kill both Nathan and Rafe, and therefore left them both alive in hopes they’d distract each other while she got well away.
Maybe she only had one bullet? That’s extremely implausible given that WE are almost never short of bullets, but…
It’s possible she might have taken into account the energy of desperation and thought that shooting one of them would cause the other one to lunge at her because he had nothing to lose, and have figured that the odds of that one managing to damage her enough to slow her down were unacceptably high…again, doesn’t really seem like her character since the leader of a mercenary army has to be willing to take plenty of risks, but…
I dunno. So I have to agree, in that way the bit really didn’t work that well.
Which is disappointing because, given Nadine’s merciless and practical character as established, if they’d given her a good reason to do it, it would have made perfect sense that she WOULD bail. She seems like the type who certainly likes revenge, but isn’t going to pursue it if the risks are too high–if there was a good reason to get out quickly rather than stick around and kill people, I would totally buy her doing that. “I can always kill them later if they survive this” is a perfectly good motto. A bit more work on the writing could have made it more believable.
Was she the one who set the fire? I thought it was “traps.” She didn’t want to go on the ship, remember? Cuz “traps.” I think it was like that. Or something.
As for your possible explanation, you are, once again, giving into self delusion. You are a critic here, Femmy! Be critical!
And only one bullet? Oh stop.
Working on the writing could have made it MUCH more believable, and the more I think on it, the more I’m convinced it got changed late in the production of the game. I mean, there was no reason to bring her to the boat in the first place she was going to walk as part of the narrative. The story went “Nadine’s walking. No, no she’s not, she has been betrayed….and NOW she’s walking.” Which makes me think the narrative WAS “Nadine’s walking. No, no she’s not, now she’s doing something cool/getting killed/SOMETHING.” Otherwise, the whole Raef betrayal bit is totally unnecessary and pointless. It was like they only wanted to reshoot one scene instead of two.
I thought I remembered her throwing a torch down behind her as she left, or something. Maybe not. It’s been a long hot time since I played.
OK, no, you’re right: this absolutely spoilerific summary of the story says that “a trap is set off that sets the ship on fire.” So it wasn’t her doing.
In that case, dude, she has a perfectly good reason to cut and run. The freaking ship is on fire! There’s dynamite lying around! Why waste time killing people when you could just grab a handful of gold and be on your way? They hate each other, so leave them alive to keep them from coming after you, and get the hell out.
I’m with Nadine.
True. But in terms of narrative, why put her there in the first place? I will continue to find it odd.
(Tomorrow, we talk about the swordfight.)
(Friday, the epilogue)
We had to see Rafe being a jerk and forcing her to go, just in case we were at risk of sympathizing with him?
I mean, Sam guilted and manipulated to get Nathan to go along with this whole thing, but most recently he told him it was OK to walk away…maybe this, where Rafe says no, it’s not OK to walk away, is supposed to contrast with that and tell us, “OK, Sam may have been kind of a jerk at times, but this guy is a REAL jerk.”
I dunno, man. I’m just gonna be cheesed. Because, and this is where we started today, we didn’t ONCE in this game get a real fight with a woman. Not. Once. And that completely undercut how bad assed she was.
One other thing I’m gonna mope about re women in this game? In the voice credits for the multiplayer: Claudia Black. As Chloe. She was in the MULTIPLAYER, and they couldn’t even give her a cameo.
That’s right, Chloe is in the multiplayer. I saw and heard her when Mr. O’ was playing it.
I understand your pain, but really, where would she have made sense in a cameo? I suppose she could have been at the party/auction, but…why? To steal something else? She’d have no reason to drop in and visit Nathan and Elena at home, there’s no reason she would have been on the island… Having her pop up in some random way and then just disappear again might have been more frustrating than satisfying.
“Oh, hi…you working on some job? Well, we’re coincidentally working on a completely different job here, so…bye!”
Well then….it should have been more than a cameo. I mean, if the actress isn’t busy….if you already have the character models…..
Hotties don’t need to make sense.
That’s a dangerous road to go down as a thoughtful critic of narrative, my friend.
I mean, Nadine was pretty attractive, so by that logic, we shouldn’t need a reason for her to be on the ship at the end other than “the more scenes she shows up in, the better!”
It’s got to make SOME sense.
Fair point. I am starting to forgive. She was pretty. Much hotter than evil Helen Mirren.