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Spoilers for ‘Mary’s brother’ side story in Red Dead Redemption 2

Butch:

Dude, you gotta make peace with your own silliness regarding file maintenance, because by letting that color your views of this game, you are missing a good game. A very good game.

Did the Mary thing yesterday, and that was great. One of the best quests I’ve done in a long time (granted, we played Shadow of the Tomb Raider in there, but still).

I’m still digesting, but juxtaposing the cult and the desire to change, and the idea that that promise that you could change was a fraud (“You didn’t give them money, did you kid?” “Well, it was for charity!” “Sigh.”) with the romance was genius. Because, really, it makes you wonder if the possibility of change IS a fraud. Can you change if the motivation is big enough? Can you adapt to the future ahead?

One huge knock you’ve made on Arthur (rightly) is that he is, well, a bad guy. More, he’s an unrepentant bad guy. “Yup, this is what I am,” without any seeming remorse. Until now, that is. Here, we see him wanting to change, a little, not because he’s scared of the law, or tired of being poor, but because he loves Mary. LOVE is the thing that might change him. Save him?

Interesting note on salvation: The cult. Cults, so I’ve heard, are usually about salvation, right? “Come with us and leave sin and all that behind for we have the answers and blah.” But THIS cult wasn’t on about salvation or heaven or anything. Their thing seemed to be “safety.” They were going off into the mountains so that, presumably, they could be left alone. Here, Arthur and Mary are trying to get Jamie away from that, away from “safety,” and we, the players, seem ok with that. Usually, we try to HELP NPCs find their way to a safe place, so this was a strange thing.

Continuing that, if we see Mary is the opposite of safe, then really what we’re saying is “love is risky. Love is unsafe.” Arthur backs that up in his journal, something like “I have been a fool, and I will be again” when talking about his feelings. “Love sure is foolish. Better to stay SAFE with Dutch.” After all, isn’t Dutch looking for safety, too, in his way?

And let’s agree: Right now, if the choices we have for an ending are 1) die, 2) run off alone to start anew, 3) establish Dutch’s gang and settle in with them, living a life of crime or not or 4) running away with Mary to be a ranch hand, madly in love, we’re taking 4, right? Foolish, unsafe love.

Seeing as the journal pretty much promised Mary will be back, I’m sure there’ll be more to say on this.

(*I could also talk about whether there was overtones of Mormonism in this “cult” and how we feel about that.)

(**Or mountain imagery. The game started with us lost in the mountains, freezing and dying, coming out of the mountains in a lovely montage, and not wanting to go BACK to the mountains, and yet here are people seeking safety IN THE MOUNTAINS.)

(***We have a lot to talk about.)

Feminina:

Oh man, this has been a day. Just running around all over the place, responding to people’s questions, writing long emails NOT about video games (what’s the point, really?).

I fear I don’t have the time left in the day to give your erudite discussion material the attention it deserves.

But…let’s see…I thought you’d like that bit with Mary’s brother!

It was a very interesting little snippet of story. In all the ways you mention, and also in the way it meshes with other stuff we’ve been doing lately–going to hassle people for money.

We go to threaten people and demand money, and they don’t want to see us. We go to retrieve people to claim the bounty, and they don’t want to see us. We go to ‘save’ people by rescuing them from…whatever…breaking their father’s heart, I guess…and they don’t want to see us. We’re spending all this time going to get things or people, and NO ONE is happy to see us.

I feel like maybe that’s even part of why Arthur seems to care about Mary and be moved by this sequence–I mean, obviously they had a romance before, he loves her, but also, she actually wanted to see him!

And then she sent him off to get someone who didn’t want to see him. But SHE was happy. Being able to make someone he cares about happy by showing up, when 90% of the time people are NOT happy when he shows up, has to count for something.

And, as you say, there’s also the interesting treatment of religion as just something to keep you “safe,” and how that seems to be mainly a desire to escape the scariness of the world, and how that ties into Dutch’s quest to escape the crushing fist of Big Government or whatever. They’re all trying to run away from the onrushing train of modernity! And it’s going to squash them all in the end.

Butch:

Meh. Save the thought. We can always pick it up later. Especially as another thing that I didn’t mention was that I poked around Emerald Ranch. Got into the saloon, tried to figure out the daughter….wasted time. The fuck is in that saloon? Has to be something. Did you figure anything out?

I digress.

She did want to see him! He does love her, and I do get the sense that she loves him back.

We’re not finished with this story arc. Not even close.

And, well, the brother didn’t want to see Arthur at first, but then Arthur (another neat twist on the pattern) saves him (on, maybe the fifth try cuz I couldn’t figure out what to do….ahem…), which is not generally something Arthur does. By the time they’re back at the station, everyone is happy Arthur did this.

Is modernity going to get them all in the end, though? I kinda read the Chelotans as pseudo-Mormons, a newish religion trying to get to the mountains in the west. Mormons, after a rough start, are doing ok. One became governor of some state or other. I got the sense that the Chelotans have a better shot at making it than Dutch does, because everyone has a better shot than Dutch.

(As another aside, you play? What should I do next? Gunslingers? Cuz all I have is that and Blackwater. Is it time for Blackwater?)

(Play, dude.)

Feminina:

I haven’t done Blackwater, so I’d say don’t do Blackwater if you want to talk about anything, although I’ll try to get to it this week. The gunslingers will take you all over the place, open up some more map…not a bad thing to have, I think, before going on with what appears to be an obvious move into the next part of the story.

None of them are really that hard, you just have to ride a ways to get to them. But it does open a lot of map!

As for the similarity to Mormonism…hm. That could be true. I feel like there were a lot of little religions popping up around that time, so it could kind of stand for Mormonism (ultimately quite successful, as of today), or one of the other ones that just dwindled into nothing. Perhaps part of the point is that we don’t know by looking at the humble beginnings, exactly what it’s going to turn into.

And since we don’t know, and Arthur doesn’t know, we’re sort of operating blindly by deciding that pulling the kid out is the best bet. Maybe he would have been happy and successful! Maybe he would have died broke and miserable. We can’t say.

All we can do, is go looking for someone who’s not (initially) happy to see us, as a favor to someone we care about.

Could be worse, I suppose.

Oh, and Emerald Ranch, dude, I don’t know. There’s something going on there, but I don’t know what. I went there for the debt, and I went there for the stagecoach fencing racket, and I went there to drop off someone I was kindly giving a ride, and I’ve heard some rumors that it’s kind of weird in some way…but I can’t find out anything concrete, and everyone seems normal when I go there.

I’m sure it will be revealed in time.

Butch:

Fair enough. I also don’t think they could just go out and make something that was damn close to a real, modern mainstream religion a “cult” in a game. That….might have been awkward.

Riding about it is! Cuz agreed, that does seem to be the “And now…chapter 3” mission.

Play this week, dammit.

Get back on that horse, pardner!

Yes–I helped that woman get to Emerald Ranch last night, too! And got the same stories!

And we all know that when you keep getting the same stories, there’s some shit.

Or not.

But probably!