Spoiler Warning S4E42: What Are We Doing?

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Feb 23, 2011

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 136 comments

And we’re back on the ranting.

Link (YouTube)

Here again we find ourselves interacting with the main plot, and once again the whole story flies apart. The reaper has been here for 5 million years, or one hundred reaper cycles. Yet none of the last 100 races managed to find it, destroy, or make use of it, or whatever.

And then we find it. Somehow. And we find out Cerberus has been here, dumped a bunch of scientists here with no real goal, and then forgot about them. And they all died. Just like all the other Cerberus cells, they wasted many lives and much money doing things that wouldn’t advance their stated goals even if they worked.

Now, remember that the council doesn’t believe that the reapers exist. (Which is preposterous, but let’s just ignore that for the sake of keeping this post under 1,000 words.) The council’s disbelief is the only reason we’re teamed up with these criminal racist murdering lying stooges. But we don’t use this reaper hulk to prove that reapers exist.

The only reason we’re going on board is to get a reaper IFF. And the only reason we’re doing that is so we can go through the Omega-4 relay to fight the Collectors. Of course, that’s stupid. If our only goal is to stop the collectors, then it’s way better to camp on OUR SIDE of the Omega-4 relay. Throw down some mines. Wait for them to run into the mines, then blast them. Problem solved.

Now you could argue that our real goal isn’t to just blow up the reaper ship, but to go through the relay and get our hands on that great reaper tech. Except the game designers portray this choice as unambiguously evil.

And Legion, who has been looking for us, shows up here? Was he able to predict that we would come here, or was he just amazingly lucky. (This point might actually be addressed somewhere in Legion’s dialog. In any case, this is a minor point and not nearly the immersion-breaker that the other points are.)

So sum up:

* Cerberus acted like idiots
* Shepard acted like an idiot
* The past 100 harvest races, while not entirely idiots, might have done better if they had found the reaper.
* The council are idiots
* Legion probably could have been making better use of his time
* The writers are not exactly making a fearsome display of mental prowess either. This is not a complicated plot, and it shouldn’t have this many problems.

So, par for the course?

Man, get me outta this main plot and back to the loyalty missions.


From The Archives:

136 thoughts on “Spoiler Warning S4E42: What Are We Doing?

  1. Kell says:

    Ouch. That’s a lot of idiots. Or a lot of idiocy, with just one or two idiots responsible. I’m not sure which is worse.

  2. Raygereio says:

    * The past 100 harvest races, while not entirely idiots, might have done better if they had found the reaper.

    I don’t know about them not being entirely idiots. For the whole harvesting thing to work at all everybody has to be complote idiots and not have any sort of curiosity about this very large space station sitting at the center of the mass relay network and crewed by this weird alien race that communicates with no one.

    1. Kdansky says:

      And we all know that there are no races that could be called “curious” or “exploring” or “conquering”. Except for most races that are in the setting, be it Salarians, Krogan or Sexy Blue Lesbians.

      1. Avilan says:

        Bisexuals. Not lesbians.

        Sexy as hell though.

        As for the rest… …Oh never mind I’ll just play the game and enjoy it.

      2. Nidokoenig says:

        If there are no races that are exploring, curious, or conquering, what the fuck are doing leaving their home planets and exploring the relays? It’s like what Shamus mentioned about the Rachni wars: they were inevitable, because any race that left it’s homeworld wasn’t exactly the type to not push buttons just to see what they did.

        1. Veloxyll says:

          Or every problem with human colonisation ever. Oh hi Humanity, you want to expand into space, yeah, there are some habitable worlds in the Terminus systems, but if they get into trouble don’t expect any help from us because we can’t send a fleet into the Terminus systems! And no, you can’t open Mass Relays to find more, despite no-one having opened a mass relay AT US in a long time, besides you that is.

    2. Kavonde says:

      People just assumed that the race(s) who lived there before did it. The current races figured the Protheans built everything, the Protheans thought whoever came before them built everything, and so on. Archaelogists like Liara spent centuries examining Prothean ruins, and only had the vaguest idea that they might not have been the tech’s originators.

      Still, after 100 or more cycles, you’d think people would’ve happened across non-previous-race ruins somewhere. The galaxy’s a big place, but there’s only so many habitable planets to colonize. If the cycle really has happened a hundred or more times (as it must have if the ship is as old as TIM says), some farmer should have plowed up a million-year-old assault rifle or something by now.

      1. Bret says:

        They have. Sometimes.

        Flavor text from a lot of the worlds hints at cycles further back, but it’s isolated stuff since the Protheans would have grabbed most of the good loot.

        And the usual response is generally either “Huh. Galaxy’s a weird place.” for the useless tech and cultural stuff or “This is amazing. Hide it, so the dirty Batarians can’t get at it!” for the good gear which prevents it from becoming common knowledge either way.

  3. Kanodin says:

    What I don’t get is how Cerberus were the first people to find the giant floating derelict spaceship that looks nothing like any ship ever made. Kind of a big deal that.

    I’ve actually heard of many of the bands on Mumbles blog.

    You certainly seem to be having a lot of trouble with those husks, if only you had a shotgun with real kick to it.

    1. Sagretti says:

      I recognized at least every other band on her blog, and my obscure band knowledge is terrible since I graduated college.

      Also, linking Grinderman’s “Honey Bee (Let’s Fly to Mars)” in a bee songs list=awesome.

      Oh, and there was some game going on? They were shooting lots of zombies or something, so I’m assuming the new Resident Evil?

      1. Rasha says:

        With the action oriented approach and losing all faith in humanity to depression and insanity? Must be silent hill!

  4. Andrew B says:

    I am pretty sure that the reason we can’t show that council the reaper is so that we can lead a scrappy alliance of disparate races to save the universe in ME3. Same reason why you can’t give the council or the Alliance the base at the end. To do so would forewarn them of the coming invasion in a fashion that could not be ignored, when it’s pretty clear the writers don’t want that to happen.

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      This. I’ve been ranting how we’ve been setting stage for this since day 3 after ME2 was released.

      1. Keeshhound says:

        If the only way you can think of to mold a future plot is to make the player character act like a drooling idiot in the current one, you have failed as a writer.

  5. Desgardes says:

    Why didn’t the reapers ever pick up, or reactivate, or whatever, this reaper? They’ve been through since, right? And when they went back into their wormhole, no one, *ANYWHERE*, went, “WHere’d Jim go? You see him? Tom?” It was more like, “FUCK IT, he’s in the bathroom, I told him we’d leave him, let’s roll out!”

    1. dovius says:

      not even mentioning that since it takes millions of organics to build/breed/frankenstein/conjure even ONE reaper, recovering dead or disabled ones and either repairing them or harvesting them for parts should be high up on their To-Do list.

      1. Kanodin says:

        Also it’s just leaving incredibly valuable and powerful technology lying around for anyone to find and use against them. Which just runs counter to their whole controlling every step of advancement plan.

        1. Kale says:

          Maybe there’s Reaper power politics going on behind the scenes that we have no clue about and this guy was in the way, so he got whacked during a harvest and the ones that did it have been covering it up ever since. Sure it’s still stupid that it’s just lying there after all this time, but maybe they’re also lazy…or perhaps being watched and can’t risk going back to the scene to clean up.

          Gotta give them credit on the indoctrination tech though. A being inactive for millions of years and that stuff still works. It’s like the Ring of Sauron.

          1. Desgardes says:

            Then why not disassemble? We were gonna do it to Johnny 5, and he was alive. They operate on our z-morality-axis, so even if they killed him, they wouldn’t have a reason to not at least strip him and add his parts to a collective. Or, if they couldn’t do that for whatever reason, leave it in a)atomic particles or b) an unusable state.

          2. krellen says:

            Reaper Tech is magic, not science. Magic never expires.

            1. wtrmute says:

              Unless you kill the wizard, of course.

              Of course, if I was a reaper and wanted to make another disappear, I’d just dump the body in the nearest sun, but what do I know?

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                Heck,just dumping it in that gas giant wouldve been enough.Even if it doesnt get destroyed,gas giants still seem like a dangerous place for everyone to explore.

    2. Taellosse says:

      This bothered me a lot more about this mission than none of the organic races happening upon the derelict since it’s death. The Reapers are supposedly really intent on ensuring there is no evidence of their existence between harvests, and yet they leave the body of one of their own behind for anybody to stumble across for millions of years? They take the time and effort to virtually eradicate all signs of civilization from every inhabited, space-faring world in the galaxy during a harvest so there’s no chance the next cycle of organics can find enough evidence to realize that the Citadel and the relays aren’t made by that civilization, but they can’t be bothered to shove a dead Reaper into a decaying orbit of that gas giant, or catapult it into the local star.

      I am willing to accept that maybe, MAYBE nobody happened to find it until now, it being, on a galactic scale, pretty small and easy to miss. But the idea that the Reapers would be so careless as to take that chance is a much bigger hurdle for me.

      1. Keeshhound says:

        Ostensibly, the Reapers have been “cultivating” organic life in order to harvest it. They’re obviously so confident in their techniques that they think of leaving a derelict the same way we would think of leaving a burnt out car in a field full of cattle: they’re not gonna figure anything out, so why take the effort to move it?

        Everyone else in the universe is an idiot, it only stands to reason that the Reapers would be too, just look at Sovereign.

  6. Newbie says:

    That bit where Legion shoots those husks before the husk temple. When I went through that game, I could see Legion and was shooting at him for about 10 minutes before I realised I wasn’t supposed to.

    1. Nidokoenig says:

      So THAT’S why he has the hole in his chest. Nice job screwing him up for the rest of us, Newbie.

  7. DanMan says:

    As much as I agree that the council are pretty idiotic in their ignorance, I don’t find it quite as unbelievable. Think of all the conspiracy theories running around the Internet. They won’t die no matter how much evidence you show to the people who believe them. When people truly WANT to believe something, they are extremely good at ignoring evidence contrary to their opinion.

    While I agree that Shepherd should just grab one of them by the scruff of the neck and drag them kicking and screaming to this ship if needs be, telling them “Hey there’s this ship out there that proves that you’re idiots” won’t necessarily convince them.

    1. Chuck says:

      “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”

      Althouh showing them would at least have convinced the salarian. That turian guy is just begging to be assassinated.

    2. Sleeping Dragon says:

      At the risk of putting too much faith in governments this is more like going “ah yes, a country in possession of bombs each capable of wiping out a city in a single blast that also causes horrible sickness and tumours to develop in thousands of people who weren’t directly affected for years afterwards. We have dismissed that claim”. I still call it that the council is brainwashed as this is pretty much the only way I can reasonably explain the stupidity of it.

      1) Even if the council only recovered small parts of it even a few scraps should be enough to say that Geth and Sovereign have entirely different technological backgrounds, especially that we now know that Reapers are “both mechanical and organic”.
      2) Even if we destroy the station we could provide tons of Collector corpses and tech from the battlefields alone. They should be able to compare the DNA with Protheans much like EDI did and the tech with what few scraps of Sovereign the council actually have to see the similarities.
      3) Shadow Broker knows about Reapers and has been, we are told, gathering every scrap of data to find a way to survive. Doesn’t he have a single scrap of evidence in his files?
      4) The galaxy is scarred and littered with marks of previous harvests: Ilos, the “dead” Reaper, the blast from that giant mass effect gun we were told about, the husk making technologies liberally littered around the place… While not direct evidence they would at least beg for some further study. At which point some uneasy truths would become glaringly obvious.

      But all we hear is “no, there are no Reapers”, “Saren made it up to control the Geth”, “Geth made it up”, “It was a new type of Geth ship”, “We can’t send a single ship or agent to the Terminus Systems”, “This is a human-only matter and the council cannot interfere”, “evidence not gathered in the presence of at least once councillor doesn’t count”. Seriously, I was half expecting a scene where Anderson walks out for a moment or picks up a call and the councillors go all robot-voice and tell us in unison “We are the harbingers of your doom! Trolololo” and when Shepard starts telling this to Anderson they just shake their heads and make the “crazy” hand motions.

      1. Chuck says:

        I think that gives the reaper’s a bit too much credit.

        Very awesome idea, though. Ooh, maybe there brainwashed by Cerberus. A rogue cell, of course.

        Cerberus really needs a better Board of Executives.

        1. Keeshhound says:

          I think part of the problem with Cerberus’ command structure is that it only has *one* executive. This is an enterprise which could only benefit from a few more people to ask TIM: “Hey wait a tick, do you really think its a good idea to just give five guys a couple million credits, tell them to make a better biotic and then just ignore them? Maybe, oh I don’t know, we could add an overseer or something to report back to us every couple of weeks?”

      2. Lokast says:

        (in response to 1) and couldn’t they carbon-date some of the salvage to find out that Sovereign was at least billions of years older than the Geth, Quarians, and galactic civilization as we know it?

        Or have I horribly misunderstood how carbon dating works?…

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Personally,I think the council is just lying to you because you are with cerberus.They deny the existence of reapers officially,but have a few science teams working on the salvaged sovereign parts.

        2. guy says:

          Well, Carbon Dating would give you an “out of range” error. Uranium dating, on the other hand…

          I’m personally clinging to the theory that the Turians are up to something, and deliberately supressing everything about the reapers, because they’ve salvaged the main gun, which is pretty clearly not geth technology.

          1. DanMan says:

            Not to get politically or religiously charged or anything, but when’s the last time Carbon Dating solved all your problems in convincing someone that something is very very old and no one ever questioned it again?

            Again, people will always be able to put up some kind of resistance and call some part of your process into question when they don’t want to believe you

          2. Fnord says:

            If it happens to have the right elements for radioisotope dating, all you would get is how old the raw materials used to make it are. Carbon dating says VERY VERY old? Obviously the hydrocarbons were made from fossil fuels that sat in the ground for millions of years before the Geth used them. Uranium dating? Age of the ore (or fission fuel was extracted, changing the ratios). Etc.

          3. Daemian Lucifer says:

            I dont think youd be able to date an open system in space in any way.For it to work,you need to have access to both the original element and its products to see how much it has decayed.But in an open system like this,youd just get bunch of elements all over the place.Not to mention the fact that it is in an atmosphere of a planet,so youd get even more contaminants from there as well.

            If I remember correctly,cerberus reached the conclusion of how old the reaper is by dating the impact crater of the shot on some other planet,not from the reaper itself.Wait,…a plot point in mass effect 2 that actually does make sense?Inconceivable!

  8. Van Tuber says:

    I don’t find it that hard to believe that no one else has found the derelict reaper; it’s small enough that you won’t see it in a telescope unless you’re pretty close.

    Although the rest of the plot . . . yeah.

    1. Desgardes says:

      But no one’s found it in a thousand thousand years? Not one ship has sidled by, gone, “Hey, that’s interesting!” And passed it on? Even if you allow for some, or even most, of those rumors to go to the Shadow Broker or Cerberus, one sells information, has important, Citadel-based clients, and the other would probably not have the illusive man on the ground, collecting this intel himself… Wait, that’s why they’re murdering all those people! They really were rogue cells, and the Illusive Man leaked you info through Kohaku and other places to get you to kill them, rather than just go himself? Uh….wait….

      EDIT: Dictated but not read

      1. Bret says:

        Well, it’s in the middle of the terminus, which means that very few people are going to take a look since, well, the Terminus is the ass-end of space.

        More importantly, it means almost anyone out there is looking out for #1 more than the advancement of civilization, so they’ll go on board. Try to salvage things.

        Within the week, they’re all worshiping Reapers, discussing their wife’s stockings, and dying hideously, leaving a stock of Husks to deal with anyone in the next team who’s a bit more genre savvy, paranoid, or iron willed than the rest.

        Also conveniently explains the excess of husks.

        1. Desgardes says:

          That’s…..surprisingly logical. Doesn’t mean I have to like it, though.

        2. Daemian Lucifer says:

          The terminus system is dangerous only now,because of all the politicing and slave trades,but it surely was different during the other cycles.

          However,it still probably indoctrinated most of those that found it.Still,its crappy that we dont find any non humanoid husks in it that would support this theory.

          1. Lokast says:

            “but it surely was different during the other cycles”

            Well maybe not, as we learned from Sovereign because of the mass effect relays galactic life developes along specific paths so it’s a possibility that the “terminus systems” have always been the low-populated “ass-end” of space.

            1. guy says:

              Doubtful. It was probably a home sector for someone important at some point. Mind, I find it going undetected reasonably plausible; it was close to a brown dwarf, hidden in a dust cloud, in a system without a primary relay. Unless someone actually started out closer to the system than the nearest primary, it would likely pass unnoticed unless people saw the huge crater on Klendragon and traced it back.

              1. daveNYC says:

                If it had been missed for a few Reaper cycles, I could buy it, but it’s been missed for 100 of them. And the people who discovered it this time were Cerberus, who aren’t exactly the sharpest knives.

              2. krellen says:

                Cerberus found it by tracing back the trajectory of the massive gun that made the wound in Klendragon; are we really supposed to believe that no earlier cycle had anyone capable of tracing simple trajectories?

                1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  But how many would know what to look for?If you dont know what the target is,youll only look for the source,not for something in between.

                  Though I still find it shoddy that no one else found the reaper before.

                2. Specktre says:

                  Not to mention that a planet orbits around a star as well the axis-spin (assuming that it isn’t locked for some reason).

                  But still, yeah. The Alliance found and dated the crater, I found it interesting that neither they or anyone else OTHER than Cerberus took the time to actually plot the trajectory.

                3. Alexander The 1st says:

                  @Daemian Lucifer, because I can’t directly reply to him for some reason: Sure, you may not know what the target is, but if you see a GIANT MASS RELAY CREATED CRATER, somone in 100 cycles is going to be thinking “…Why shoot Klendragon, of all things? In fact, if it missed and was trying to hit Klendragon, where would it have hit instead?”

                  I mean, sure, year cycles might make it hard to find, but you’d think Liara would’ve found it, since it has Liara written all over it.

                  And in the last 100 Reaper cycles, you’d think someone would’ve gone for it.

                4. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  @Alexander The 1st

                  There is a limit to the number of nested quotes.Only Shamus can reply directly to someone when that limit is reached.

                  Anyway,our cycle differs from the rest because the keepers were disabled,so we had much more time than rest of the species to develop.However,this doesnt explain why it is humans and not asari that found this out.I agree that it is stupid how its humans(and not just humans,but its dumbest parts – cerberus)who end up finding out all these things,and not one of the races that had centuries to do it.I mean sure,they had rachni and krogan to worry about,but they still had plenty of time to do lots of other stuff,like investigate the thorian,investigate the keepers,investigate the collectors,…

                  The plot hole is not in previous races not finding out anything reaper related,its in the races of this cycle not finding out anything reaper related until the humans join them.

    2. Rosseloh says:

      Good points in the thread prior, but I have to point out that the star system had a name. While that’s not necessarily grounds for assuming that someone had been there (I mean, we have names for stars), it seems to me that in this galactic society, naming things generally includes sending a survey team out or something.

      1. Fnord says:

        If someone did detect it, what would you expect them to do? Presumably, relatively few races have had this much warning about the Reapers, at least until it’s too late, so it’s just one more thing that the previous civilization left behind. It’s a pretty big find, sure, but it’s also incredibly hard to get to, being in the atmosphere of a gas giant (in a system, as noted, with no primary relay).

        Presumably, there are easier to access ruins that get studied instead. Especially if survey teams tend to have “accidents”.

        Also, even though it’s 50 thousand odd years per Reaper cycle, only a relatively small fraction of that is spent with space-flight capable races running around. The Asari have only been active 3000 years or so, and everyone else less.

        1. TSED says:

          That is a really dangerous assumption, I think.

          Imagine if a species was on the brink of space travel, and happened to miss the mass extinction event by, let’s say 2000 years. They would have been latecomers to the old regime, but now they get into space and find all these ruins and stuff… Weird.

          Sure, everything’s been trashed (I assume that 2 millennia is enough for the reapers to finish trashing everything with time to spare) but it hasn’t been hit with the entropy hammer nearly as hard, so it’ll likely be all “yo we’re making some awesome advances here.”

          Add Sovereign’s occasional check-ups as a counter measure, right? Might not have been enough; maybe that’s what happened to the Protheans. They actually made their own relay, for example – that’s a big deal. A HUGE deal, actually. Can you imagine the implications of a galactic society that can build its own pseudo-teleporters?

          Anyway, the point is: “given the uncountable number of times this thing has happened, “most of that time being empty space” is an unsafe bet for both the hypothesizer and the Reapers.”

          1. Fnord says:

            It would be one heck of a coincidence that all 4+ races to develop to the spaceflight stage do so in the last 5% of the Reaper cycle if something like that were possible. Presumably the Reapers take out civilizations that are sufficiently advanced, but still pre-spaceflight.

            1. TSED says:

              And how would they find those? I don’t argue against the possibility of blindly stumbling upon them, but what you’re suggesting is that they scour EVERY SINGLE PLANET of EVERY SINGLE STAR EVERY SINGLE CYCLE.

              No way. Just, no.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                They have enough mass relays scattered around to catch the radio signals from mostly everyone.So only if you were to develop radio technology in the last 50 years or so of their cycle youd be safe.

                Besides,I dont think their cycles are fixed.Thats why sovereign is there,activating from time to time to check if someone got to the citadel.

              2. Fnord says:

                Er, no. A majority of planets don’t support life. And even of the ones that do, life is unlikely to appear and evolve to spaceflight in 50 thousand years. In fact, probably the only ones you need to check every cycle are the ones that already have tool-using species, with decreasingly frequent checks depending on how soon intelligence is likely to evolve.

  9. Xakura says:

    Another reaper wreck won’t convince the Council, they have already dismissed it as Geth work.

    And as for Cerberus finding it first, I just assumed they murdered the people who actually found it. You can’t argue that Cerberus isn’t the largest and most powerful organisation out there scanning intelligence reports after anything that could be reaper-related.

    1. Chuck says:

      True, but cerberus hasn’t been around as long as other races just as likely to find the thing.

      Wow, I’m nitpicking the game and I don’t even own it. What have you people done to me?!

      1. acronix says:

        You are one of us now!

      2. Dante says:


      3. Bret says:

        True, but Asari tend to sit on their butts and/or strip instead of doing science, Turians tend to take a “We can study the corpse” approach to things, so any dead Reapers they’ve found would tend to get extra dead, and most other races can’t manage a big research team without council approval. The big rogue state, the Batarians, found one already.

        The Salarians are the only head scratcher here, but it seems everyone outside of Cerberus has the sense to go “Every research team we send here drops off the map, frequently with last transmissions sounding a lot like “Liberate Te Ex Inferis”. You know what? Let’s not got there. Ever.”

        What I’m saying is, of the plot oddities in this game, this level is one of the less grievous offenders.

        1. Chuck says:


          Wait, is it stated that other races have sent research teams into the area, or was Cerberus the first?

          1. guy says:

            Cerberus is the first, because they said, “Hey, look at this giant mass accelerator crater. I wonder who made it and what they were shooting at”.

            1. Specktre says:

              The Alliance found and dated the crater, I believe, but interestingly enough Cerberus is, apparently, the only group to try and plot the trajectory.

        2. daveNYC says:

          Good reference.

  10. RTBones says:

    For the record: IFF = Identify Friend or Foe. Essentially, much like a modern airliner (which uses a transponder to squawk a code that is picked up by air traffic control so they know who they are talking to), it is meant to spew forth a code. If your friends pick up the code, and it is correct, you are a “Friend,” and there will be much rejoicing. If you spew forth the wrong code, however, you are a “Foe,” and they shall smite you. Very handy for telling who’s who in the zoo.

  11. Ateius says:

    Ooh, Legion. Now, while Legion is a cool character, he also makes another reveal that I hate. Get ready guys, because – ahh, I won’t spoil it. Not for Rutskarn.

    It’s yet another ridiculous turnaround, though.

    1. Avilan says:

      This is why Legion is there to begin with (so yes, it’s pure luck). He (it?)is there because he had to make a diversion from trying to find Shepard, since the threat of the virus made it necessary.

  12. RTBones says:

    Musical reference and ME2 tie-in for the day: don’t fear the reaper. (5 points if you get that one, 10 points if you get it AND remember what I am talking about)

      1. RTBones says:

        That’s just what this post needs – more cowbell.

        1. Rosseloh says:

          Can I just say that I extremely dislike that, well, can I call it a meme though it didn’t originate on the internet?

          I like the song, but whenever someone mentions ‘more cowbell’ I want to punch them in the face. Nothing personal of course.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            But you have to agree that the song does sound better with…

            *puts a led sheet in front of face*

            …more cowbell.


    1. TSED says:

      They already used that.

      In Season 1, I think.

  13. Tomulus says:

    Argh! A tvtropes link right at the end there. How dare you Shamus?! It’s supposed to be bedtime.

  14. Vect says:

    Ah, the Cerberus way: Dump some money and scientist and let it all work out for itself.

    And I still stand by the fact that it’s not the acquiring of technology that’s bad. It’s handing it off to the jack-off “scientists” that the group’s been railing against that’s a bad idea. Had you had the chance to give the tech to someone who knows what they’re doing, then it’s a good idea. Since you don’t… Well, they’ll probably use it to either create something stupid and horrible (making TIM into the Emperor of Mankind or the final boss of Okami or something) or just plain nothing good can come of it.

    On Kane and Lynch:

    Lynch: Schizo with skullet.
    Kane: That other guy.

    I am trying a writing project in where I try to detail a plan on how to make a decent installment of the series that fixes the problems. Having trouble on it though since I can never get beyond “Kane and Lynch Shoot Dudes and never afraid of anything” (aside from including a sideplot about Kane’s daughter trying to bust them).

    1. Klay F. says:

      How to make Kane & Lynch a better game:

      Step 1. Play some other game.
      Step 2. Any other game.
      Step 3. Seriously…

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        You could use the dvd to play frisbee,which would offer you more time with it,and would be more fun.

  15. NeilD says:

    This was probably addressed, I have no memory for these things, but can’t they just blow up the Omega relay?

    Failing that, I wonder how hard would it be to just pour all their resources into building mines and missiles with relay-activation tech, and sending an unending stream of hot ordnance through the relay for a year or so.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      The council pretty much crucified you for just maybe accidentally blowing up a single prothean beacon.They didnt even dare to try to do something to the relay that was spewing rachni out to kill everyone.I doubt anyone wants to tamper with ancient tech.Though there still might be some explanation for why this would be a bad idea.Maybe all the relays are connected and blowing one would make the whole grid stop working,which would be really bad.

    2. guy says:

      Relays can survive supernovas. They’re probably not completely indestructable, but it’s clearly not an easy task.

      1. Raynooo says:

        Anyone remember if you can MOVE relays ? Cuz I would catapult that shit in a sun. Even if the relay survives it, I’d love to see the Collectors come out of it.

        Grilled insects yay !

        1. Retlor says:

          Long answer yes with an if, short answer no with a but.

          The Mu Relay moved in the first game, but it took a supernova to do it. It’s probably beyond the capabilities of the races of the galaxy.

          1. Jarenth says:

            Also: the relay itself is just basically a catapult, not an endstation (as far as I remember). Moving the Omega-4 relay is only going to stop us from going to them, not the other way round; for that, you’d need to destroy the Collector Base relay.

            1. Klay F. says:

              Maybe you could use the Mass Relay’s own mass effect field to move itself? I’m probably horrifically misunderstanding what I read in the codex of the first game, but to me it seems possible.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                I dont think so.It seems that the relays are so big because they can only move a fraction of their own mass.Which is why reapers dont have relays built inside them.

                And Jarenth is right.But still,that doesnt explain why you dont just mine the shit out of the exit point from collector base,and wait for them to lose their only ship.Nor does it explain why do the collectors have just one ship,seeing how this base predates them and is big enough to host an armada.

        2. Alexander The 1st says:

          Do all relays have to be connected to another? From what I gathered from the Conduit, the only reason they needed the Citadel opened was to allow Sovereign to send something to the Reapers [himself or others], so that the Reapers would know it was time to set theirs off and send them through. Since they know the Citadel is no longer safe, they are using Harbinger to get a second route in, but I’m fairly certain that if they wanted to, they could just turn on their relay and go to the citadel. They just can’t rush the Citadel – it might even be one at a time, ala:


          So I don’t think removing the Omega relay will do anything other than prevent the Collectors leaving after coming after us.

          1. Alex says:

            I don’t like this idea. It cheapens Shepard’s achievement in the first game, since as Harbinger shows, Sovereign is not unique, and there’s no reason to believe the timer is unique to it either.

            That, and I prefer the idea that even if you can get yourself up to speed with one stationary mass driver at the origin, you still need a mass driver at the end point to slow yourself down.

            1. Alexander The 1st says:

              Sovereign is still the only Reaper on our side of the galaxy – Harbinger was communicating to the base.

              Though I hadn’t thought about that last part – perhaps you need to point at A mass effect relay then, rather than THE opposite relay. Though the relays may have a code authentication to ensure that you can only get to certain relays from another one. The Reapers could potentially re-program them.

              After all, you’re able to go after Ilos, and that relay moved a lot – it still gave access to and from Ilos, so perhaps there’s a way they authenticate. As to why Sovereign didn’t just get a specific relay and re-program it, perhaps he didn’t know where Ilos was. Nor the relay that connected to it. It was, afterall, overlooked the last time too.

          2. guy says:

            All relays do have to be connected to a destination relay, at least if “Stopping” is on your to-do list, and I think the system doesn’t initiate a jump unless a destination is ready, though that might be an engineering decision instead of the underlying physics. Longer-ranged ones are fixed links between two specific relays, while shorter ranged ones can connect to any other within range. It seems that you don’t need to know the destination of a longer-ranged one but do need to know the destination of a shorter-ranged one, hence how the Rachni Wars and the find the Mu relay plot both happened.

        3. guy says:

          I think it’s really hard. They’re pretty big and probably use a mass effect field to make them even harder to move out of their orbits, and trying to reduce their mass with your own field might backfire horribly to the tune of explosions.

  16. Sock says:

    Your guys’ interpretation of the control for Kane Lynch sounds a lot like the co op mode in Psi-Ops for the Xbox. Both players controlled different functions of the same character. It took a lot of coordination but getting it right was very rewarding.

  17. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Is charge really that broken,or is Josh just super (un)lucky at finding bugs?

    And this bloody screen is also very real!

    Another point towards shepard being extra dumb:Shepard has stopped zounds of reaper soldiers,even a saren-husk.The alliance has destroyed a fully functional reaper.Cerberus cant even deal with one dead reaper.Yet we still are working with these incompetent morons.

    Legion is forgiven,because geth are cool.Oh,and you guys decided to do the tali-legion loyalties together?Very nice!

    1. Sydney says:

      It’s really that broken. Elevation changes and being too close are the big issues, but the collision detection check it makes (“No, wait, that box is in the way”) is also far too strict.

  18. zob says:

    I think Legion is my favourite character from ME2.

    1. zob says:

      I did try to post this at once and failed so I’m posting it in two parts.

      I know ME2 main plot doesn’t make some sense and usually terribly executed but I think I have an idea about what is really going on there.

      Let’s go with Josh’s idea. TIM is lying through his teeth. There are no rogue cells and TIM knows about each and everyone of them. Whenever it’s convenient he declares them “rogue” to clear his name in front of his more idealist followers. Now let’s have two more assumptions. First, TIM somehow knew about collector base behind O4 relay. Second Shepherd become somehow unique during ME1. To simplify Let’s say she’s immune to reaper indoctrination.

    2. zob says:

      TIM wants to have the collector base. For that he needs Reaper IFF. To use reaper IFF he needs an individual immune to the effects of the Reaper Tech. So he needs Shepherd. To control the Shepherd he leaks false information about Shepherd working with Cerberus while she was half dead and still going through Lazarus operation. Everywhere around the galaxy cerberus operatives are gossiping about when and where they saw Shepherd helping the cerberus cause. This is probably how he recruited people like Joker or Chakwas. If Lazarus succeeds Shepherd wakes up to a universe where everyone thinks she’s Cerberus. If Lazarus fails he got some of the best crew in the universe and some good PR in the name of Shepherd.

      All of his traps and lies are just for one reason taking the collector base. He even puts one of his most loyal agents Miranda there to kill Shepherd if he decides to destroy the base.

      Sad thing is this is just a fan-fiction because I couldn’t find anything that supports this theory. It just makes sense because original plot doesn’t

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Plus,that theory doesnt hold water when you have 3 other individuals(legion and two you bring along)that dont get indoctrinated.So all tim needed was to send a huge team to make a quick strike and get the iff before anything happens.Also,if shepard was the only person able to get the iff,why send a team to get turned into husks and thus just make it more likely for shepard to fail?

        1. zob says:

          I don’t know if Shepherd is immune or not, that was just a placeholder theory for her being somehow unique/special that she shouldn’t be changed. Here have another :) She is prothean compatible enough to screw with base defense systems because of the beacon. The idea is she is unique and needed for capturing the collector base.

          1. Josh says:

            I got the feeling that the reason Shepard and company were apparently immune to indoctrination is that the process requires lengths of constant exposure to significantly affect the mind. Which means that the whole “We can’t save the base at the end of the game, it will just indoctrinate everyone who tries to examine it!” doesn’t hold much water if you just rotate people out every so often and keep close tabs on their mental health.

            Not that such precautions are things that Cerberus would bother with but still.

            1. Bret says:

              Well, it seems the length of time isn’t the only variable. Strong willed folks like Shepard and her crew apparently last a lot longer than, say, an average Cerberus operative. I mean, Saren had months and was able to blow his brains all over the floor.

              Concentrated exposure can turn someone completely insane in a matter of a day or two, and more limited stuff would actually be worse, since that gives the reapers independent agents with full knowledge of your stuff.

              This isn’t work with much margin for error.

            2. daveNYC says:

              I think the length of time needed for indoctrination was variable. It could be done quickly, but the end result ould be a husklike idiot, do it slowly over weeks, and you get a subject like Saren or the Matriarch. I’m not sure what the minimum time needed is though.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                Maybe because this is a dead reaper it can only do it slowly.And,as seen,there were plenty of personality changes to the cerberus guys,which did not happen to saren and benezia,so this was a flawed process.

            3. Specktre says:

              But there is no evidence that so much as suggests that the Collector Base possesses Indoctrination technology. Only Reapers have been shown to be capable of Indoctrination.

              Since that hypothesis cannot being confirmed, I would say it’s a weak and usesless argument until BioWare says one way or the other, which they haven’t.

              EDIT: Also, concerning the length of time for Indoctrination, and Shepard walking inside the dead Reaper, Shep and Co. are only on the ship for an hour or two at most, whereas the Cerberus team was probably there for 2-3 weeks, or something along those lines.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                Sure,but there was also no indications of the iff having anything dangerous as well,yet look what that one did?The only thing we can be sure about reaper tech is that no amount of precautions will be enough to protect us from the dangers it may present.

                Though that still doesnt mean we should stop researching it,only that we should always be prepared for it to backfire.

                1. Specktre says:

                  So I guess you just rotate the researchers like Josh suggests.

  19. Sydney says:

    Tali: “We’ve seen these [Dragon’s Teeth] before […] on Eden Prime!”

    “We”, Tali? As I recall, you were getting scammed by Fist at the time.

    Riter One: “We needa tell them these was in the first game!”
    Writer Two: “Hang on; we can’t just possess Shepard and make her talk. Someone else has to have the realization.”
    Riter One: “Tali and Garrus was in the first game!”
    Writer Two: “They, uh…they were not on Eden Prime. Look, I’m gonna go get coffee and we’ll think about this. Don’t. Write. Anything.
    Riter One: [giggles and gets to typing]

    1. krellen says:

      She reviewed the mission briefs, and considers herself part of Shepard’s crew (perhaps the only character that still holds that universal truth; Tali’s recruitment mission points very clearly to a “I’m with Shepard” mentality), so it would be natural for her to refer to activities that happened to Shepard’s crew in the first game as if she were part of it.

      If Garrus said it, it would be a little weirder (he doesn’t have quite the same hero-worship for Shepard as Tali does.)

      1. Sydney says:

        Garrus has the same lines, actually. And both use “we saw”.

        1. Bret says:

          Obviously, they revisited Eden Prime during the cleanup.

          Shepard remembers none of it, as she spent the entire mission in a drunken stupor.

    2. Specktre says:

      I don’t recall her saying that she was on Eden Prime. But being a Quarian and thus possessing Geth knowledge, she would know about the Dragon’s Teeth.

      As I recall, she says, “Geth origin never made sense to me. This confirms that the Reapers are involved.” Something along those lines.

      To back this up the Codex in ME1 kinda has a question mark hovering over the strange spikes; not to mention the side-quest where you find the dead excavation team near some of Teeth, with no explanation of how they got there.

      1. Sydney says:

        She doesn’t say “I was on Eden Prime”, but she says “we saw on Eden Prime”. First person plural, but still the first person.

        1. Specktre says:

          Huh, well that’s awfully silly. :/

  20. Dromer4ever says:

    It’s surprising Cerberus didn’t get cancer with all these rogue cells.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Im pretty sure cerberus has brain tumor.Either that,or it was born retarded.

  21. droid says:

    When I played through it seemed that Legion stopped looking for Shephard after [s]he died, and unlike everyone else in the universe, had not heard that we were alive again.

  22. psivamp says:

    Am I the only person who realized during this episode that Dance Dance Revolution IS just a big quicktime event? (during the whole Kane-Lynch multiplayer mutant discussion)

    1. Nidokoenig says:

      Yeah, some dork blogged about playing DDR and somebody mentioned it, so he went and did a whole post analysing the idea:


  23. Velkrin says:

    Since no one else posted it.

    6:24 – Railing kill!
    7:14 – Railing kill!
    9:16 – Railing kill!
    9:23 – Railing kill!
    10:25 – The railing contributed, it counts.
    13:20 – Half a railing kill. Take half a shot.
    13:51 – Railing kill!

    1. Chuck says:

      I love that episode of MST3K.

      I think I’m going to go watch it.

    2. Specktre says:

      Bwuahahahaha! I forgot about that! XD

  24. echelon says:

    Now you could argue that our real goal isn't to just blow up the reaper ship, but to go through the relay and get our hands on that great reaper tech.

    Wasn’t finding the abducted human settlers half of the reason for going through the relay?

    1. zob says:

      That’s what TIM wants Shepherd to believe.

  25. Zah says:

    The reason they leave the teams alone is because they get stage fright when someones watching them working.

  26. Skeletor says:

    Man, the plot is even worse then normal. Also sorry mumbles, you are a hipster.

  27. poiumty says:

    Shamus made an interesting point when he mentioned the missions were made “in a void”. To me, it looks different. It looks as if the game was supposed to offer you the “Alliance or Cerberus” option at the start, then they planned all these missions, then they had to cut the game short due to time constraints and didn’t have time to invent new levels and assets. So the story of these places ended up sounding rushed.

    This would explain the “we have dismissed the Reapers” reply quite logically (from a game design perspective, not from a story perspective) which is the only decision i have a real problem with.

  28. Kavonde says:

    So, I’m guessing Tali’s loyalty mission is next? You went and did this just so you could bring Legion along, didn’t ya?

    Good times.

  29. anaphysik says:

    Something I just noticed: all of the category images have alt texts (often amusing), except for Let’s Play. Should maybe be added?

  30. Grudgeal says:

    I can’t help but wonder what the Omega 4 relay and that whole Galactic Core base was used for before the Reapers made the Collectors.

    I mean, either the base has always existed since the first Reaper cycle and has been used to house, what, a new slave race every cycle? Which makes it a wonder it’s so uniform in appearance. Or it’s made after the last cycle especially for the Collectors. In which case it’s a wonder an IFF plundered from that Reaper works on the relay at all.

    I mean, that IFF comes from a Reaper that’s been dead for a thousand *times* longer than the Collectors have existed at all. And I though I was bad at changing my passwords regularly…

  31. Zaxares says:

    On the overarching goal of ME2: I actually disagree with you on this, Shamus. It’s made abundantly clear from the start what your goal is: stop the Collectors from abducting humans. Two plot questions that immediately arise from this are “WHY are the Collectors abducting humans?” and “How are the Collectors linked to the Reapers?” The first question isn’t answered until the end of the game, but the latter is made apparent by several discoveries throughout the game such as the Collectors using Husks (a known form of Reaper technology) on Horizon, and the revelation that the Collectors used to be Protheans.

    The two main secondary goals that form your primary goal are:

    1. “Build up a good team”, because the Alliance/Council doesn’t believe you about the Reapers and so you can’t just lead an army through the Omega-4 relay. (Which would be silly anyway, being that nobody knows anything about where the Omega-4 relay leads. See point 2 below.)

    2. “Find a way through the Omega-4 relay”, because to this date no one but the Collectors have ever managed to travel through the Omega-4 relay and return. What happens to ships that pass through is totally unknown. Are they being attacked by Collector ships the moment they pass through? Does the Omega-4 relay lead to another galaxy altogether? The need to know HOW the Collectors pass through the relay is why the Illusive Man deliberately sent you into the Collectors’ trap. It was risky, but it also provided the best opportunity to try and get information from the Collectors’ computers about how they manage it. He trusts that Shepard will be able to escape on his own. (Although honestly, it’s more because the Collectors are IDIOTS at setting up a proper trap that Shepard manages to escape. :P)

    From the information, you discover the Collectors have a special IFF device that allows them to travel through the Omega-4 relay safely. As explained by EDI after the Collector ship mission (which you guys probably missed because you were talking), the Omega-4 relay actually leads somewhere close to the galactic core (which is basically a super-massive black hole). Ships travelling through the relays frequently encounter ‘drift’, which is a margin of error resulting in the ships coming slightly off-course from where they were intending to go. This drift is normally tens of thousands of kilometers long, which would be fatal in the galactic core (you’d likely end up right in the middle of the black hole and get torn to shreds by the incredible gravitational forces instantly).

    The problem is that ME2 tends to jump around a LOT, between recruitment missions, loyalty missions, random missions on planets and planet scanning, so it’s quite easy to lose track of the bigger picture if one hasn’t been paying attention.

    I DO agree that it seems absurdly coincidental for Cerberus to have found the derelict Reaper that NO ONE ELSE has found in over 37 million years. SERIOUSLY?! :P I mean, at least Legion has a plausible explanation; Sovereign might have told the heretics where it was or sent them here to gather materials, and the main geth population found out through them. But it seems highly cliched that “good old human determination and ingenuity” found the derelict Reaper where no other galactic civilisation has done so in 37 MILLION YEARS.

    Oh, and the reason why Legion is here is explained when he gives you his loyalty mission. I’ll leave off the information for now for the benefit of those people who are watching SW ‘clean’.

    Josh brought up a REALLY good point though; why the heck didn’t Shepard just tell the Council where this derelict Reaper was?? “Hey Council/Udina! You wanted proof, there it is!”

    I have to say, Rutskarn… That line you said about duct-taping Kane and Lynch together to form Kane Lynch? Funniest thing you’ve ever said on this show. XD

    The Cerberus logs on this ship are really interesting for an insight into how the indoctrination process works actually. The one in the room with the Dragon’s Teeth is my particular favourite; very Cthulhu’ish. :D

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Yeah,it jumps around a lot,but some of the plot holes really stick out,no matter how you look at it.For example,just posting sentries at the omega relay or mining it would stop the collectors from doing any more abductions.So the only thing we had to do was find garrus to give us the upgraded cannons,and wed be set.This would at least give you more time to search for a way through the relay.

      Furthermore,while going into the collector trap was a useful way to get the info,tim already said he suspected the existence of the iff,so why not give shepard all the info?Instead of going into the trap to gather info,we couldve gone into it to disable the ship and steal its iff.Why work for this idiot afterwards?Why not go to the council and say “Here,I have this cerberus ship,and these cerberus info,and Ill trade them for renewed specter privileges,free hands in pursuing the collectors,and full military support once I give you a way to stop the bastards.”Paragon or renegade,working for someone endangering not just your life but lives of all the humans by sabotaging your mission on purpose is idiotic.

      1. Miral says:

        Except that the Collector ships are ridiculously overpowered (as evidenced by the opening sequence), so they’d probably make short work of any ships or mines that try to stop them.

        Other than that, though, I agree with both of you. The relay and the IFF were both explained fairly well in the game (if you pay attention, and don’t get distracted by all the side quests); it’s only TIM’s behaviour towards them that is suspect. And it’s obvious why — TIM wants the Collector base tech, but he’s been trying to convince Shepard to do it to rescue the kidnapped humans (and prevent more kidnappings), since he doesn’t think she’d go for that.

        This general deceptiveness just seems to be his natural mode of operation, which begs the question of why Shepard seems to keep listening to him. And how he managed to keep any operatives in Cerberus at all… but then, there’s always an endless supply of mooks.

        It’s also interesting (read: bad writing) that despite the previous mission being “go investigate this derelict Collector ship and gather information” and turning into “oops, it’s a trap, and TIM knew all along” — the current mission is “go investigate this derelict Reaper ship and gather tech” and nobody seems to spend even a single moment thinking “maybe this is also a trap” — even with the missing research team. And oh look, the supposedly-dead reaper activated a shield, trapping everyone inside, and then activated a bunch of husks. That couldn’t possibly have been a trap, could it? (Sigh.)

        And yeah: derelict Reaper lying around in space for untold centuries, completely untouched, being discovered *just* when it would be useful — and not only by Cerberus, but by the geth as well? That’s just a bit too convenient for believability. (Although the “all previous discoverers got turned into husks” theory does have merit.)

        tl;dr: the relay and the IFF make sense. Derelict Collector ship and derelict Reaper ship don’t.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          The collector ship is not really that much more powerful.It has better sensors,maneuverability and weapons,yes,but not much.Its a cruiser class,and yet we defeated it with a frigate.A couple of dreadnoughts,especially the new ones armed with sovereign beam weapons,would dispatch it quickly.And say what you want about mines,but I doubt even a reaper would pass through a heavy minefield without a scratch.

          In fact,why arent there any minefields next to dangerous relays?Or if not mines(because of the huge drift of ships),at least automated rocket sentries.

  32. Chalkbrood says:

    interestingly ME2 isn’t mentioned on the tvtropes page you linked

    anyone here wanna go update it? it’s only been like 10 years

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