My problem with the ending of Mass Effect 3

OK, it’s time. The moratorium is over. If you haven’t played Mass Effect 3 yet, you’re probably not going to. Or you’re Jimi. Anyway, if you follow gaming at all, you probably know that many people are upset with the ending of ME3, for various reasons. Some are mad because they wanted a happier ending, even if they won’t admit it. Some are mad because it seemed like it didn’t reward the choices they made. Some are upset because it was just, objectively, bad (I fall into this camp). I’m not going to go into the details of those three arguments because they’re all valid, and they’ve all been discussed at length elsewhere. My gripe, I think, cuts a little more to the core of the writing, more to the choices I was allowed to make and how I made them.

It’s possible that your Shepard made all the good choices, and of course, went for the synthesis ending, and you were happy. It’s possible that she made all the bad choices, and you went for the control ending, and you were a little less than happy. And it’s possible that you just went along as you saw fit, and chose the destroy ending, and were unimpressed. That’s how three of my Shepards saw it. John saw the universe transformed, and it was good. Jane saw the reapers under her control, just for a second, but then lost it, and was destroyed. And Julie destroyed the reapers, and is laying under a pile of inexplicable rubble somewhere, gasping.

But not Janet.

No, not Janet. Janet Shepard was the ruler of her own fate. Janet Shepard would never have accepted some child god imposing his made-up rules on her universe, the one she ruled, and ruled so easily. Not once in the epic tale that preceded it had Janet Shepard accepted a fact she was unhappy with; she made the world the way she thought it sould be. That the game somehow thought that Janet Shepard, MY Shepard, would simply lay down and die? Janet Shepard wouldn’t know how to die, let alone do it willingly.

I can tell you what she would do when confronted by some non-corporeal god-child. She’d fight it. And win. If that meant she had to fight on his terms, so be it. Janet Shepard would travel to that forgotten realm, that place where non-things live, and she would slaughter her way through the thickest swath of it, laying ruin in her wake. And when she finally confronted this child, who had the audacity to assert his superiority over her, she would slay him, and mark the place in the firmament of the universe. And having completed her task, having left that place in ruin, she would burn the souls of a thousand million dead to return to this plane, this universe she calls home, if only for one reason. She would return to that place where she had beaten him, where her conquest over him had become complete. And she would piss on his grave.

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