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Spoilers for the identity of the Origami Killer in Heavy Rain

Butch:

Played! And I was right: Shelby. Nice twist. I’m about to break into his place as Madison.

But…..

I don’t care about the flashback. He wasn’t there when Manfred died. He wasn’t. It makes no sense, and I object.

THOUGHTS!

I still think a PI game where you’re Shelby (and not the killer) would be good. I STILL think his chapters were the best.

So I got a chapter you didn’t get: Before you burn all the evidence, there’s a long goodbye (unplayable) with Lauren in which they share a long, tender kiss and Shelby promises to tell her everything he knows when they see each other again. We’ll see how this goes, but if that means he’s gonna kill her, I object, cuz he could’ve just let her die.

The best scene in the damn game is making you burn all the evidence you tried so hard to get. Putting the player in the killer’s shoes like that was absolutely great. “Hey! You did all this to get this! You monster!” FINALLY something really great.

Though…I want to know…why does he kill NOW, and why does he plan to STOP. Did you get this scene? Cuz you didn’t do all the trials. Did you have to do all the trials? Cuz I did all the trials.

The last one was “Are you willing to die?” And you had a choice: drink some poison and have enough time to save Shaun before you die, or not and miss out on the letters. I drank it. Figured I came this far. And Ethan’s annoying.

You know what you shouldn’t do, though? Have a mechanic to see what your playable character is thinking when one is the bad guy. Cuz then it undermines everything. I mean, why is he thinking lying thoughts? Like, “I could just be in a video game with this weird thought mechanic? Better think positive?”

This game. Odd to the end.

Feminina:

Yes! You called it!

I did not call it, I was just puttering along and then, as Shelby, started burning the evidence and was like “wait, what the hell man, what are you doing?! Stoooooppppp!!!!”

That was a genuinely interesting moment in the game. Because you have to play it, and as him, you have to destroy the evidence you’ve also collected as him.

The Manfred-killing flashback was the hardest part to get past, though. I mean, Lauren was right out there the whole time, and he’s sneaking back to noiselessly bash his old friend on the head, and…OK, whatever.

As for why he killed Manfred now, maybe he felt that someone was getting to close to his secret? And he didn’t want to kill Lauren (although in my game he did later leave Lauren to die, which makes sense for someone trying to get rid of evidence), so he killed Manfred instead? Before Manfred could say “oh, and of course YOU come in ALL THE TIME about old typewriters, you’re my best customer!” and…he couldn’t just brush that off, the way he managed to brush off having been at the murder scene when the cops came to ask?

I don’t know.

One could argue that he plans to stop killing because he thinks he’s finally found a worthy father who’ll go through all the trials to save his son, but that doesn’t really work unless the player DOES actually complete all the trials, which I did not.

So yeah, it was a nicely done moment there, with the twist, but it’s still hard to exactly follow the logic. Of course, he’s a child-murderer obsessed with finding a perfect father to make up for his own terrible one, so perhaps we should just not expect a whole lot in the way of logic. But that’s a cop-out answer.

Butch:

And hey, nice job not letting on that I called it! You’re getting good at this!

Dude, the reveal was at the end of the kid chapter. John, as he’s drowning, says “Don’t forget me Scottie….” And then, you’re all “SCOTT! I KNOW A SCOTT!”

Unless you’re you, in which case you just putter.

Very, very well done scene. Best scene in the game. And giving flashbacks to all the times you got stuff, which were times you, as a player, were all “Yay me, I finished a level,” and making you, the player have to change that to “yay, me, I covered up a murder.”

Yeah, I totally object to the Manfred bit. They needed a thing that mysteries do where you’re all “I THINK it’s him but it can’t be cuz X” (indeed, that’s how I felt), but it’s unfair if X makes no sense. Or is physically impossible. Or is directly contradictory to what is actually seen on screen.

So they contrived. And missed.

I don’t know why kill him now. Maybe cuz he figured out that Lauren still had the letter? But…I dunno.

And right, it’s not about Ethan. My game, yeah. “Finally. A worthy one.” Makes sense. Your game? Whatever. And why NOW. The killings didn’t start in 1977 (did they?), so what happened in 2007 that made him kill? Do we find out?

It is a cop-out. Good mysteries work because they follow their own rules. You get to the end and you’re all “Of COURSE!” and can follow the string backward to all the clues that were there all along. This doesn’t really work if you have too many knots in the string. Yes, there were clues it was Shelby (I listed them) and suggestions (the fact we never knew who he was working for or why he cared about the case was suggestive, wasn’t it?) but there were sure some big knots in the string. Mysteries work when they’re logical, even if the premise of a serial killer doing all this because of all that makes no sense.

Even something like Silence of the Lambs made sense within its own rules. Ridiculous that a cannibal would hunt down another serial killer. Ridiculous across the board. But it stayed consistent with itself, and worked.

This game took too many cheats.

But I’m not done. Perhaps I’ll change my mind.

Feminina:

Oh, that. Yeah, see, what with the whirring of the PS4, I totally heard “don’t forget me, Scottie” as “don’t forget me, OK?”

And I thought, well, that’s kind of an odd phrasing, but OK, I won’t forget you. Especially since the game’s almost over! I don’t have to remember for long!

Later on the wiki I read that he actually says “Scottie” and I thought “well, THAT would have been a meaningful clue, if I’d actually heard it correctly.” Oh well.

I think it might have made the reveal even more interesting, though, because I literally had no idea, and I was just puttering along, starting a new chapter as Shelby, and oh, he looks down about something, maybe he’s giving up on the case, and–OMG WHAT ARE YOU DOING!? He’s destroying evidence why are you destroying evidence there’s STILL A CHANCE MAN, we could still find out the truth!!!!…oh…I see…”

I will also say that one of the strongest emotional reactions I had to the game (along with the nauseated cringing over Madison’s forced strip tease and subsequent testicle abuse) was when we went to the second flashback of the kid who is revealed to be young Scott. I just had this instant sense of dread, like dude, I do NOT WANT to come back here and watch this kid’s brother drown, I already know he died DON’T MAKE ME WATCH IT.

And after I learned there was a major reveal in that scene (if only I’d heard it correctly), I figured well, there was at least a reason to make me watch it, but before I learned that, it seemed pretty gratuitous. Though it also was as close as I got to really CARING about anyone…young Scott begging his dad to come help and his dad just shoving him away was kind of brutal and I actually felt for the kid where most of the time you just aren’t invested enough in the characters to have a real emotional response.

Butch:

Oh agreed. Harrowing scene. But there was a plot point. The reveal, the reasons fathers matter, etc. But yes, harrowing to watch.

But I was thinking: it’s more than finding worthy fathers. It’s about finding fathers who can redeem themselves. Each father did something bad: was abusive, neglectful, etc. Ethan failed Jason. Shelby is trying to find a father who can atone for his father’s sins.

Ethan was picked, I think, because of Jason.

Feminina:

I agree…which makes you wonder about Hasan, the other father we met, as well as the partners of Lauren and the woman who tried to kill herself whose name escapes me, who just disappeared, having presumably either died while attempting various parts of the trials, or else just proven themselves unworthy by bailing on the whole thing.

What did they do to attract Shelby’s attention? How did they initially fail their sons, thus setting themselves up for this test? I don’t think we have to know, it would just add unnecessary filler to the story to somehow throw in, “so Bob Smith here did thus and such, and Bill Jones was reported to so and so…” but it’s an interestingly humanizing angle, to suddenly make you think about all these previous, mostly unnamed and unseen characters, who shared some unfortunate connection.

Hm.

Butch:

Well, Lauren said something nasty about her husband/boyfriend, as did the one with the baby. And one guy did die. Did you find the dead body in the duct with the glass? Presumably one of the other dads.

Which DOES make one wonder about Hassan. Hassan was fine. Hassan didn’t even unfold all the origami. Indeed, Shelby holds up the lizard, still folded. I just checked, and that was only the third trial, so he didn’t even try. You have to wonder about that.

Feminina:

Oh yeah, who could forget that body in the Tunnel O’ Glass? And, indeed, the origami lizard was only the finger-cutting trial. Maybe Hasan got to that point, thought “nah, I’d be happier with my finger,” refolded the lizard, and went away to pretend he didn’t know anything about it.

Or maybe after the driving-the-wrong-way-on-the-highway trial, he just decided not to even unfold anymore. Although you’d think he’d have more left over in that case, but…maybe he only kept one as a souvenir.

Who knows.

The point is, those guys all sucked and DESERVED to lose their children!

Sorry, kids. Sucks to have a sucky dad, right? Shelby feels your pain. I mean, not literally since you’re the ones drowning, but…he feels bad, all right?

Butch:

Nah, I read that as “fuck it.” Indeed, if I remember correctly, Shelby kinda peers at the lizard, and you think “he’s lost in private investigatory thought” when maybe it was contempt.

We never saw inside the box. Maybe there was more than one.

And he does feel their pain, but what do you make of his inability to judge what it really is to be a sucky father? Now that I know what I know, another line stands out: Kramer, before I allowed him to die of a heart attack, is justifying letting his icky kid get off for a murder (I’ll have to ponder why Shelby was so up in that shit…trying to frame Gordi?) and Shelby is sneering and disgusted (Again, why? He’s the…whatever), Kramer sneers “You don’t understand! You DON’T HAVE CHILDREN” (emphasis mine.) Shelby ISN’T a father. He had a sucky one himself, to be sure, but he’s never looked at it the other way, and, one parent to another, our feeling towards our OWN parents and our feelings about BEING parents differ wildly, do they not? It’s interesting that the game made a point about Shelby not having the perspective of being a parent, only a son of a sucky dad.

But I don’t think Shelby was thinking “They deserved to lose their children.” I don’t think he thought “I’m glad John’s dead. Dad deserved that.” Anything but. He wasn’t punishing Ethan. He was testing him.

Feminina:

Good point…the box could have been full of origami for all we know.

And on him not being a father, it’s true…and it’s interesting that we see/play him actively taking care of a baby, ACTING in an almost fatherly capacity. And that baby is a girl.

So he exists as some sort of weird Angel of Trials and Death for fathers/boys, but is able to gently care for a suicidal mother and a daughter (albeit while in pursuit of some evidence, and with no apparent backwards glance when he walks away from them both).

Hm.

Butch:

Dammit are we starting to give this game some credit?

Feminina:

Meh. Probably a fluke.