Mass Effect 3: The Ending

SPOILER ALERT! I have some questions about and some support for the ending. Naturally that requires me to write about things that those of you who have not finished the game do not know. If you’re anti-spoiler please don’t click and then yell at me for giving it all away, okay?

I can say, without spilling any details, that the finale was moving. It wasn’t what I wanted but what happened with Shepard made sense within the context of the story. My issues lie with the aftermath. I’d love to hear your thoughts so please do share any comments or quibbles with me.

Here’s the rub for ME3: I expected to fail. I thought Commander Shepard and her cohorts wouldn’t make it and that would be the end of sentient life in the galaxy. Even through my no-spoilers policy I was aware of the controversy over the ending and I figured that’s why everyone had gone bonkers about it.

But BioWare hides much more evil genius than that, my darlings. Even my much-put-upon Shepard managed to get to the Citadel and do her duty (and wasn’t that hard to watch?) to save the galaxy. Of course, I thought everyone on my team was dead. That sucked but at least I wasn’t failing.

For me, Commander Shepard dying makes sense, sad though I was to see it. Considering that I believed everyone she knew had already died, what did she have to live for, anyway? Her life’s work had been accomplished when she limped her way over to destroy the Reapers once and for all.

That part of the ending didn’t bother me. It was terribly poignant, particularly after having slaughtered the Quarians to get the Geth and then knowing they’d all be destroyed anyway. My biggest frustration with Shepard’s decision was how slowly you had to move while watching your allies get blown up all around you. The faster you moved the more people lived and that dramatic crawl frustrated me.

The whole bloody sequence aboard the Citadel was epic enough for the Commander and the Mass Effect series as a whole. It’s what happened after the Reapers fell that left me scratching my head. Pardon my language, but what the fuck was my team doing in mid-jump through a relay? How did the people I’d brought to the beam get onto the Normandy? Why did they all look relatively happy when they stepped out of the ruins of my ship?

The crew should all have been safely on the ground, together or not, dragging themselves to their feet as the Reaper forces fell around them. They should certainly not have been wandering the galaxy clean, content, and unhurt.

I am intrigued by the idea that Asari, Krogan, Salarians, and Turians become trapped on Earth pretty much for the rest of their lives, as they no longer have a mass relay with which to leave the system. Heck, there are probably some Volus and Elcor hanging around, too.

The remains of the Citadel and the Reapers on the ground will likely give them much to build from but I foresee many generations (in human terms, at least) living with these other species before they can re-engineer mass relays. Hell, they didn’t even understand how they worked after thousands of years’ worth of study. Of course, they didn’t have an entire Reaper or fifty, either.

Considering the wildly-reduced population of the planet there will be plenty of room and resources for each to expand and all to mingle. They may not be able to live peacefully together all of the time but I do think it’s a lovely idea that none of them can lose sight of what happened and that whole planets of other people live out there somewhere. And just think of all of the Krogan stuck on the Turian home world!

Why, however, did BioWare relegate my team, my beloved friends, to some beautiful garden planet who the hell knows where in the galaxy? The poor things deserve better than that! They should have been together, on Earth, the planet that was home to half of them and the one they came to save. With no explanation for their leaving I’m left to think that prologue a flight of fancy on the part of the writers. It was unnecessary and exceedingly confusing.

The little coda after the credits did give me a smile. I’m not sure who the grandfatherly type was intended to be, if any of the familiar characters, but “the Shepard” was a deft touch. But it should have happened on Earth.

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