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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Minor spoilers for Red Dead Redemption 2

Butch:

Hear that? Seriously, listen. Hear that? That’s silence. That’s what it sounds like when no one is here.

It’s beautiful, isn’t it?

Ok, played some!

Went fishing with Keiran, and, gotta say, thought he was gonna betray me. The whole time I was all “and now we get shot….” but we didn’t! Kind of a nice aside. Of course, didn’t catch the legendary bass, and he was all “We need better bait,” to which I said “HA! Like THAT’S gonna happen.” Well, not really, but I sure thought it.

Then the game faked me out, as the game does. I thought “Oh, hey! Molly has a quest! I’ll go do that! It’s likely mellow” and that lasted ten seconds and then got sucked into the shooty shooty. It’s not that that was a bad quest, but game, if you’re going to make me do the quest right when I take it, you gotta be clear as to what kind of quest it is. I wasn’t in the mood to rob a stagecoach, and I didn’t think I was going to have to rob a stagecoach.

But rob I did.

And then, because irony, I was all messed up so I thought “Oh right! I can camp and cook some of this stuff that I’ve been lugging around to heal up!” So I hit camp and, in the little cutscene where the camera pulls back when you set up camp, I saw something I recognized.

From a treasure map.

Yup. Because I thought to camp right there, right then, I found a treasure, right after saying yesterday I never would.

Even when we plan NOT to do stuff, our plans fail.

But themeage!

So the thread I see in the fishing and the stagecoach comes down to loyalty. Arthur (and I) spent the fishing trip doubting Kieran’s loyalty to the gang, despite the fact he professed it. Arthur (and I) rolled our eyes at the idea that Uncle could pull his weight with the gang (that is, show loyalty) because he’s too stupid to do so even if he wanted to. Molly, in her brief ten seconds of her quest, seemed to imply that she cheated on Dutch, right? Even SHE wasn’t loyal. All this in a gang that says, on the surface, that they are tight knit, in it together.

Seems like bullshit.

What was the icing on the cake was the side dialog I caught between Dutch and Lenny about America being either an idea or a club. Did you catch that? I won’t spoil if you did.

Not a bad night.

Feminina:

Treasure!? Jealous! But not enough to bother hunting treasure myself. Maybe someday I’ll see it by accident while setting up camp.

I agree that it would be nice sometimes if you knew what you were getting into before you got into stuff. On the other hand, as we’ve discussed, it’s just imparting the valuable life lesson “never talk to anyone.” I basically just never say anything to anyone anymore unless I’m prepared for anything from two minutes of pleasant chat to a weeklong heist scheme.

And that’s only in real life! In the game, I’m even more cautious.

Hahahahaha.

Anyway…good thoughts about loyalty. I don’t know that I got that Molly had been cheating on Dutch, necessarily. Certainly she implied there were problems between them, but if there was anything specific about her seeking solace in the arms of another, I missed it. Which is entirely possible. But yeah, all is not well in that relationship, and cheating or no, that does speak to some underlying issues with the general image of perfect unity and gang togetherness that Dutch seems interested in.

Man, that stagecoach…Leviticus Cornwall again, eh?

I also kind of enjoyed the fishing trip with Kieran. And I even thought “sure, OK, I’ll pick up some better bait…sometime…” before promptly forgetting about it. So I meant well! Sort of.

I might as well just admit right now that I will never get around to getting better bait.

I don’t remember a conversation between Dutch and Lenny (LENNNNNNYYYYY!!!!) about America. I wonder if I just missed it entirely, or if it will come up again?

Butch:

It’s a lot of money and….ANOTHER MAP!

You’re laughing cuz it’s true.

Well, Molly didn’t say “We’re struggling” she said “I made a mistake…one mistake….” I was expecting her to say she was pregnant. All the same, one mistake sounds like an acute thing that Dutch obviously doesn’t know about yet. Nothing specific. She got interrupted.

Yup. Cornwall. And I liked that, even after knowing that, they didn’t say “Uh…no hard feelings…” and abandon the robbery. They just kinda sighed all “Well, this is going to be a pain in the ass, but whatever. Hand over the money.”

Like, dudes. You had an out, there.

Nope. Net getting good bait. Especially as the bait store is in the middle of nowhere.

It was a complicated conversation, and it was one of those “They’re just chatting in camp” deals. Basically, they were discussing if America is an idea, an idea where everyone can dream of freedom, or it’s a “club” where “certain people” can define what America is all about and shit on the rest of everyone. Dutch is lamenting that the “club” (which is very much not him) is winning. Basically, he didn’t say, but he’s talking about the rich and the “elites,” really. He ends it by saying “Well, I’m always going to cling to the fact that American is an idea,” to which Lenny replies “But the club is always gonna make the rules.”

Interesting.

Feminina:

Hm. That is an interesting conversation. So the takeaway is that it IS like a club (the club/elites in power do make the rules), and Dutch is clinging to a fantasy? But…is he wrong to cling to that ideal, given that elites making rules to benefit themselves is hardly a description of an egalitarian, fair-minded land of opportunity?

He could be seen–certainly I think he sees himself–as lodging a noble protest against an unjust order with his actions. “I’m not going to let the Man get me down!”

But then, as we’ve discussed before, how noble a protest is it when it hurts non-rich, non-elites more than the rich elites? And we can go back to Arthur’s statement to Sadie that the gang “robs folk that rob other folk” and generously interpret all of their train and stagecoach robberies as hurting the rich…but all the random people going about their business that you can rob if you want? The storekeepers? The people getting their bodies and houses shot up every time you get into a giant gunfight in the middle of a town?

Most interestingly, of course, the people getting threatened and beaten up for taking advantage of a perfectly legal service, and borrowing money? Hm.

And true, Molly did get interrupted, I remember that now…interesting. And then later…hm. Have you overheard her and Dutch arguing yet? All is not sweetness and light with that couple.

She’s definitely trying to tell someone something. I wonder how big a plot point this is going to be. I mean, yeah, could be “I made one mistake and kissed another man,” could be “I made one mistake and told the Pinkertons where camp is”…hard to say.

It’s true!–I was kind of amused by that. Even the coach drivers were all “dudes, you might want to call it off, this is Leviticus Cornwall’s money, we totally won’t think less of you if you just go home now” and they all say “damn it, what terrible luck!–but hey, we’ve already come out here, put our bandannas over our faces, our horses are already running…might as well go through with it.”

Butch:

Ooo! I didn’t even think her mistake could be endangering the gang! And no, I haven’t heard a fight. I shall keep my ears open.

It’s true, Dutch is kind of waging a protest against “The club” in order to keep on his “idea.” But then, isn’t the gang a club? Worse, isn’t it a club where one dude makes the rules? No democracy or real freedom in the gang. Even loyalty isn’t enough! Kieran says “I feel like I’m Kieran Van Der Linde than Kieran O’Driscoll and Arthur pooh poohs him, all “You’ll never be a Van Der Linde.”

Maybe the game is saying more that every club thinks it isn’t REALLY a club, that it’s the people with the good ideas!

What’s an interesting twist is that the one group that thought it had the right ideas and was dead honest about initiating people into its club was the Klan, who we were encouraged to fight.

Hmm.

Feminina:

Yeah! Maybe it’s about how every idea (about human society, anyway) becomes a rule-bound club in practice, or every club is based on an idea and how you feel about that depends on where you stand.

And, perhaps, that there will always be people who seek alternatives to the existing club, and who propose their own ideas that turn into clubs.

Some of us, maybe, just live with the club the way it is, whether that works for us (Leviticus Cornwall) or doesn’t (the family owing more than the farm is worth), and others break the rules without having any higher purpose than to get some money out of it (common outlaws, not like Dutch’s gang!), and some break the rules and/or leave the club because they want to replace it with something else (the cult we rescued Mary’s brother from, Dutch). And it’s hard to say, maybe even for the leaders of these alternatives, to what extent they sincerely believe in their own ideas, and to what extent they just don’t like the existing club because it doesn’t give them the chance to be as important as they feel like they should be.

Because one certainly gets the sense, of Dutch but also of many charismatic leaders with high-sounding ideas, that they’re not particularly motivated by a concern for the system’s unjustness to the average random person wandering around out there, so much as by a concern for its unjustness to themselves. Its failure to recognize them as the serious and important figures they are.

Which is indeed a major injustice! I seethe every day at the cruelty of a world which fails to acknowledge my awesomeness! Any day now I could snap and start a cult! Or shoot a bunch of people, which let’s be honest is definitely easier.

Just kidding. I’m way too cool to care whether or not the world acknowledges my awesomeness.

Butch:

You’re scaring me.

But on institutions and selfishness, you reminded me that I found something else last night.

You find a cottage with a murdered couple? And a dead woman outside with a letter?

Feminina:

Man, you are finding ALL the murder scenes in this game!

I have not seen that, no. I’ll have to…look around more. As soon as I have some spare time. To hunt for murder scenes.

Oh, and speaking of…nothing, really, but I wanted to mention it anyway, remember a bit ago you said “I bet you’ll have a long intro sequence when you first get to Saint Denis, even though you’ve been there before”?

Yup. Got that.

I figured Arthur was just pretending to be impressed, thinking “yeah, I definitely haven’t been here before several times watching vaudeville shows and collecting bounties and having my picture took and giving money to charity. No way. It’s all so new and exciting!”

Oh, but what WAS new and exciting about Saint Denis (possibly the neighborhood I was in this time) is that I finally saw some people of Chinese descent. So they do exist in the game! Even though they were (so far) just wandering background characters.

Butch:

Yeah….you kinda got off track there. An amazing unintentional magpie.

I dunno, man! I just knock on doors and stuff! There’s interesting stuff out there! Cigarette cards to find! Cheats to not find! That sort of thing!

Ah, there ya go! New and exciting!

Even with all the murder, I haven’t found any serial killer stuff.

I’m saying that to guarantee I find some tonight.

Feminina:

I don’t usually knock on doors. The people at campfires are usually so hostile that I figure people just don’t want to be bothered anywhere, unless they’re shouting for me.

Oh, and speaking of shouting for me, maybe the third time’s the charm. The convict in shackles who wants you to shoot them off? First time, I accidentally shot him, he ran off. Second time, I accidentally rode over him with my horse, he ran off. THIRD TIME, he for some reason dares to approach again, I miraculously didn’t injure him, did shoot his shackles off, and he gave me a tip about some house I could rob.

Which I promptly did not get around to robbing, but one never knows. Maybe it will have a lot of money. And/or a map I will never look at.

Butch:

Ooo! One of those! Yeah, weird stalker guy with nude pictures gave me a tip like that!

Damned if I know where it is.

“Hey! There’s a house you could rob!”
“Where?”
“By a tree! Bye now!”
****pause****
“Great.”

Maybe all the people I could rob are dead.

There’s a lot of dead people. Though the first place I found wasn’t all that themey. Last night….sorta.

Oh, and what did you make of the fact that….ok. So remember the shootout in the barn? That burns? That I did last night in that wagon robbery mission? Remember how the bounty hunters go to the main house first and someone answers? Well, wound up back there, and went to check out the house and, what do you know, there’s a notice saying that the house was foreclosed and repossessed in 1895. Four years ago. But someone was THERE in the mission!

Huh.

Feminina:

I noticed that too! Shootout in the burning barn was very memorable, and then I went back to that place later and it was all locked up/foreclosed, and I thought…huh?

Someone was definitely there before. And maybe they were squatters, except they were acting pretty confident, answering the door with a lamp and telling the posse no one had come to the house.

Although maybe it was a squatter who recognized the sound of a posse and figured he’d better just answer the door if he didn’t want the posse to tear the house apart and possibly shoot him thinking he was a skulking outlaw. In any case, I felt slightly less bad about having been the cause of that barn burning to the ground, knowing no one was officially living there anyway.

Butch:

Yeah!

At first I thought it was just one of those fiats of game design, the whole “Ok, this place has served its purpose in the game…nothing else to see here.” That happens all the time in games, right? But this game hasn’t been lazy like that. They have no problem at least throwing an empty place with some canned peaches in. So why this, why now?

Hmm.

Feminina:

And I thought maybe it was another feature of games, the re-used environment…maybe it wasn’t really meant to be the SAME house, it was just built by the same contractor, you know? But it really seemed like the same place.

So I don’t know. Perhaps it will come up again.

Butch:

Oh it was the same place. Guaranteed.

Don’t get it.

I do like how this game is so complete that when something seems lazy we’re all “It HAS to matter!” We never say that in games!

We’d have driven ourselves crazy doing that in MEA.

Feminina:

We shall see. Or not, and then we’ll say “oh well, I guess it wasn’t THAT complete after all.”

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