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Some spoilers for the epilogue of Red Dead Redemption 2

Butch:

Well, I’m on part two of the epilogue, and, while that is likely not a NEW SENTENCE I certainly hope that’s the last time I have to type it. Ever.

Part two. Of the epilogue.

But hey, at least I didn’t have to build a fence. Watching a cutscene of that was so much more interesting.

Maybe this game just feels guilty for everything it did to you. Now it’s punishing itself. This is some form of terrible self destruction based on guilt and self loathing.

Shit, even Arthur’s last ride, the song, the perfect choices of dialog to return (I still can’t get over how great it was to have the last thing you hear in that montage be a RANDOM NPC saying “Thank you, feller”) is now tainted because it ISN’T THE LAST LONG RIDE WITH A SONG in the damn game! Now, instead of that as a last impression, I have Willie Nelson singing something all peppy and shit.

What IS this?

I’m very glad we aren’t in the minority regarding our opinions on this. I would fear for the whole idea of games as art if people weren’t agreeing with us here.

Feminina:

Sigh. Yeah. I mean, I like Willie Nelson! He has old-hippie cred. But…not right here. Not right now.

I can’t remember where part 2 kicked in, because it all blurred together in an endless daze of “BUT WHY AM I DOING THIS.”

Have you met…anybody yet? Shot some people with Jack? Received the Very Important Goal of this epilogue?

Butch:

I met Uncle, who seems to have moved into my “farm.” I got a telegraph from Sadie, which I imagine will lead to the Very Important Goal of this epilogue.

I did shoot some dudes who jumped me after I said “John Marston” in a post office.

I can see the blur. Part two didn’t even really need to be there. I bought a shack.

No, it was, “some months later” (Dear game, when you’ve already pulled “some years later,” don’t pull “some months later”), THEN I bought a shack, THEN part two popped. Like, what was so important? Maybe that’s the setting for the first game? Maybe people all gasped when they saw Blackwater right at the beginning of this game? I don’t know. It didn’t seem momentous enough to warrant a part two at that point. I even had the Sadie quest! I decided to go get a shack first.

Is this almost over?

Feminina:

Yeah, OK, I remember that part.

I thought that bit where you got in a gunfight after saying “John Marston” in the post office was fairly well done, with the tension of trying to keep Jack both physically safe, and also protected from the full experience of the combat. Like, John doesn’t want his kid exposed to the violence he deals with everyday–or not everyday, anymore, but often enough that it’s not that big a deal to him.

It was a nice demonstration of how John is actually trying to get out of the gunslingers’s life–that rather than seeing this as an opportunity to teach Jack the family business, say, he instead tries to keep him from even having to see it. However much he himself is unable to keep from doing what he does (“what do you want me to do, NOT go shoot a bunch of dudes and get the cattle when the boss asks me to?”), he doesn’t really want his son to follow in his footsteps.

Again, I don’t know why I had to do it here at the end of this game…but it wasn’t a bad character moment.

Almost done…alas, no. You have to build some more stuff, do a lot more ranch chores, hang out with Sadie and so forth. It’s going to be a while.

Butch:

It was a good character moment…yes…it was….

This epilogue isn’t doing anything fundamentally bad, really. It’s just doing things that are very unnecessary, oddly timed, and that take away from the good stuff.

It’s like having a really nice four course meal, and ending with a fantastic dessert. Then, when you think it’s over, the restaurant is “Why no, there’s a kale salad to end!” And it’s a good kale salad, a very good kale salad, but you don’t want the damn kale salad. You want to end the meal on the fantastic dessert.

At least, this time, when the game is doing something objectively well, we can counter with an objective reason why it sucks.

A while? You jest. If you jest, it ain’t funny.

Feminina:

Yes! That’s exactly what it’s like!

This is a very nice kale salad, it’s well seasoned, the kale is fresh, in other circumstances I might have quite enjoyed it, but…WHY IS IT HERE RIGHT NOW?

And I’m sorry. Dude, I’m sorry. But no: it’s a genuine while. There are chores, and random murder quests, and building. It’s a couple of solid hours, at least.

So it’s like, after the oddly timed kale salad, they ALSO bring out…another, even larger kale salad! Also very nicely prepared and with high-quality ingredients!

And you just keep thinking WHAT THE HELL IS THIS DOING HERE RIGHT NOW. I was already full of dessert!

And you want to just get up and leave the table, but at this point you’ve been here so long that you’re committed to seeing it through, so you sigh and pick up your fork. Again.

Butch:

And you’ve already paid for it. Like, say, a seven course prix fixe. Once you hear the last two courses are weird and you want to be done after the first five, really great courses, you’re like “Well, it’s kinda a waste of money and time and all if I just leave…..”

At least if I was in a restaurant, I could get booze with the salad.

Feminina:

It’s true, you did already pay for it, and it’s clear the chef really meant this final menu choice to add something significant to the experience, so you feel you should at least eat it so you can comment on the decision from the position of someone who finished the meal. Doesn’t mean you can’t be baffled by the choice the entire time.

Especially when the epilogue doesn’t even come with a nice, period-appropriate Miller High Life.

Butch:

Now I wanna Miller high life.

Of course, that’s often true on a day when the kids are home early again.

Feminina:

Man, your kids are ALWAYS out early.

Why did you move back to that town again?

Butch:

Uh….it was cheap? No, not that. Uh….diverse? No…that isn’t it…

Uh…..

Feminina:

Keep working on it. I’m sure you had a very valid reason that sounded good at the time.

The plethora of public television channels, perhaps?

Ooh, I bet it was all the divey liquor stores.

Butch:

Nah man. The dive liquor stores and record shops are Lincoln.

The tv stations won’t be good until they take my feedback.

We do have a tea cake shop.

Feminina:

It was probably the tea cakes. That’s why I would have done it.

Butch:

I’ll go with that.

Now I want a tea cake with my Miller high life.

Gotta be a NEW SENTENCE!

Feminina:

Incidentally, as a confirmation that Hotmail is spying on our conversations, my sidebar ad is now Miller Lite.

I think I’m hurt. I mean…am I not classy enough for the champagne of beers, Hotmail? You gotta try to steer me towards the workaday stuff, because I’m just not a High Life kind of person?

Afraid I’m going to start breaking bottles with my drunken clumsiness and/or belligerence?

I have to say, I resent the implications. However true they may be.

Butch:

That’s an amazing kind of awesome.

They know you well. By which I mean not very well.

Feminina:

Well…not very well…what’s the difference, really? The important thing is that they care enough to eavesdrop.

Butch:

I feel kinda bad for the dude assigned to us. Imagine the issues we’ve given him.

Feminina:

If an algorithm can get into booze, it’ll wind up with crippling alcoholism for sure.

Butch:

Well, who doesn’t?

Feminina:

Probably John Marston, at this rate. He’s too busy building fences and murdering people.

Eats up one’s time, that does.

Butch:

His own damn fault for having kids and buying a house.

Feminina:

Too damn right it is. He probably ignored his good friend’s advice, as so many of us have done.

And look where it got him.