[Spoilers] A Happy Ending? (Plot Discussion and Theory)
Hey all, thanks for checking out this crazy idea that's been popping around my head
First: I absolutely loved this game. I hear some people don't like the plot twist that much, but I thought it was beautifully crafted. Let's just say Infinite ended with a shock of amazement for me, unlike the original ME3 that ended with a shock of disgust :P
Here follows a considerable amount of text before I state my idea, so I can put it all into context. If not, skip down to the Theory Part. Please bear with me though, and I hope you enjoy
One of the greatest elements of this game is the relationship built between yourself (Booker) and Elizabeth. I admired that the writers could have easily made Booker into a less 'evil' person. They could have made him into somebody who has done immoral acts as a last resort; someone who is damaged by what they have done for the greater good. But we know this isn't true.
In the past, he's done great wrong, and he says it was just part of himself. Examples: He hurt people without remorse as a Pinkerton. "We need people like Fink... because of people like me. He took part in the Wounded Knee massacre, but not as an act of self defense. He implies he killed innocent women and children out of pleasure. And correct me if I'm wrong, but it's also implied he scalped/skinned them, and wore the bloody scraps upon himself.
This is not the damaged idealist protagonist that we like to see. It's not the kind of person we like to root for, and far too dark to be a true Byronic hero (imo). And it is this dark quality that makes his redemption and transformation all the more powerful.
It wasn't until the second half of the game-ish that he begins treating Elizabeth in a humane manner. For the first half he treated her simply as a means to clear his debt. Then, through a series of powerful and moving events, and the development of their relationship, he comes to find a greater purpose in his life: Elizabeth. I'll be the first to admit that from the trailers, I thought their relationship would be one of lovers. But it is clear as the game progresses that it is a relationship between a protector and a victim; a father and a daughter.
Elizabeth's role is more clear-cut. A princess freed from her tower, but unlike the Disney versions, she is thrust into a world of violence and hate. Vulnerable, but powerful. Innocent, but exploited. She is the source of redemption for Booker. God was not there to forgive Booker's sins, but Elizabeth was.
One of my favourite scenes was the flash-back when Booker tries to get her daughter pack. When he howls "The deal is off!", it sent shivers down my spine. An excellent performance by Troy Baker, and the entire cast. The guilt and pain in having made the decision to sell Anna in the first place, and the desperation after realizing what was important to him, was amazing.
Theory/Interpretation part: (heavily edited after conversations with Tusing)
I draw your attention to the post-credits scene. Booker calls for Anna, and goes to the room where she lived as a baby. Idea: This is Booker #2, who remembers everything that happened in Booker #1's life. Note throughout the game, such as with the gunsmith and the soldiers, they remembered events from other universes. And if we take it to be true that memories and experiences drive our development as people, and are quintessential to who we are, then Booker #2 has BECOME Booker #1 in terms of personality, character, etc.
I base all of this on arguably weak evidence: the tone of Booker's voice. When he says, "Anna, is that you?", it is the voice of a man who does not know what is beyond the door. So, it COULD NOT BE a version of Booker who has always resided in that universe, since that Booker would have known whether or not Anna were there. It must be the same Booker who underwent the events of Bioshock Infinite, for in that voice was the sound of weariness, of having fought and battled to save the one person he loved. But also in that voice was the sound of hope, the fervent and forlorn hope that beyond that door was his daughter who had been imprisoned, tortured, and whom he risked everything to save.
If we agree that the same person in alternate universes can remember events that happen to one version of the self, and that memories and experiences are what make us who we are as people, then the next should also be possible:
Elizabeth's memories would also be transferred to baby Anna. Now, whether this would drive her insane or not, I am unsure. However, it seems likely that Anna essentially BECOMES Elizabeth in terms of character, or the 'soul' if you will.
Last edited by AresEnyalius; 03-29-2013 at 03:03 PM.
End result: The end credits is a universe where Booker's wife has died, he did not go to a baptism, and Anna still lives with him. Booker #2 remembers the events that have happened, and thereby all of the changes to himself are retained, and he is essentially Booker #1. It is the end of his quest, and after great adversity he has undergone his own personal 'baptism'. Undoubtedly he will be plagued with his own terrible memories, but he can begin anew, with Anna at his side.
It's oft been said by romantics that so long as a memory of them remain, they shall not truly die. In this case, it is an even greater version: their entire memories and personalities and 'souls' seem to be retained through throughout the universes. Does that mean some form of Booker and Elizabeth live on in this alternate universe?
If they both remember what has happened, and essentially BECOME the two people, I believe they will be very happy together. Booker is redeemed; he was depressed, guilty, a drinker, gambler, murderer of innocents. But now he has saved his daughter, and in the process formed a powerful bond with her. I believe his outlook on life will be far different; one that is more hopeful and happy. And most importantly, he is no longer alone. Before, he lost his wife due to Elizabeth's birth, and daughter due to heavy debts and a depressed outlook on life. Now, he has love.
For Elizabeth, she no longer has powers (She no longer loses her finger from the portal). REMEMBER: Conversation in elevator, when she says Booker must see her as a freak, a monster. She is a normal person now. No one is hunting her, keeping her locked up in a tower, and no longer are others afraid of her supernatural powers. She has everything she could ever wish for, and a new life with a father who loves her so much, he would die to spare her from pain.
Aaaand that's it. My original crackpot ideas about time travel were completely changed after talking to Tusing, who has a very intriguing thread called "BIG ending revelation - found something NEW here!".
Maybe it's all wrong. Maybe Ken and his team never intended for such a blissful ending. But it certainly provides my foolish self with a satisfying and beautiful closure to this epic tale. Also, note that the ending music did not sound complete, while the Annas were fading away. I think Schyman used an off-tune piano, it closely resembles e minor? Ends with a open fifth...
Now listen to the lullaby in the post credits, a definite sound of ending and closure there, by returning to the tonic.
If Ken's as amazing as I think he is, this was done on purpose Or maybe I'm looking too deep into it.
Thanks y'all for reading this! I hope I helped someone else by sharing these ideas. This is how I intend to remember Booker from Bioshock Infinite, and really, how I intend to remember 'my' role and the player's role: a desperate struggle of an immoral man in an immoral world, and after finding a person he can love, and sacrificing his own life to save that person from pain, he is redeemed and finds salvation in a new life with her. Without intention to offend those of religious belief, Booker ends in a true Christ-like manner, and it is part of why I treasure this game more than any other
EDIT NOTE: There is considerable religious hints that I just realized. Remember when Booker first entered Columbia, and almost drowned? When the Annas drown Booker, it is symbolizing baptism, by dunking his head into the water. In sacrificing himself to save everyone, he is truly redeemed in Annas eyes and his own, and she provides them with salvation and peace in the alternate universe.
SECOND EDIT: Changed a helluva lot, credits to the logic of Tusing
Last edited by AresEnyalius; 03-29-2013 at 03:35 PM.
It is my understanding that Booker always goes to the baptism and once there is faced with a choice of heads or tails. Does he go through with it and be reborn or refuse it and continue on as the character we play as. I am not sure what to make of the end credits scene cause there were things missing like the wound on his hand and the race forms on the desk and the fact that Anna is a baby again suggests time travel. I am starting to believe the whole game was nothing more than Booker having a nightmare.
Yes, but there's an idea floating around that maybe in some universes, he does not even go to the baptism. In the ending scene where he dies, it is when he goes to baptism. By dying there, he cuts off the choices you said; heads or tails, having baptism or not. If it is possible that in some universes he does not go to baptism... wouldn't they still exist? :P
Originally Posted by pdx mm
For the second part of what you said, it definitely seems like time travel. This doesn't seem a hard stretch for me; if you have the power to go to alternate universes, why not time travel? I mean this in fictitious fantasy terms; I am familiar with how in reality, time travel to the future is scientifically possible while back is not.
So if we both accept that time travel were possible, and Anna being the source of the power for this, then read the rest of my post, and I hope I can show an alternative ending to the rather cynical nightmare scenario :P
What I find amusing is that almost every lyric in the song Everybody Wants to Rule the World has some in game counterpart.
I don't recall ever hearing that he never goes to the river. Honestly that doesn't fit with the rest of the game however when dealing with infinite possibilities then everything would be possible. I do need to ask what do you mean by "wouldn't they still exist"? I guess I am not sure what you mean.
I am not so sure now the end credit scene is time travel but just a starting point after the loop paradox had been fixed. If we end the Comstock line then Anna never gains the tear power so she couldn't have flung Booker back to 1893 (or whatever year he gave up Anna to cover his debt). This is also why I am thinking all of this was just a dream.
**EDIT** Ok just watched the end credits scene again and the racing forms are still on the desk and he uses his left hand to open the door so we don't get to see if he still has the wound and the brand of AD.
Yeah, the idea is there are infinite possibilities, so him not going to the river must also be a possibility
By "wouldn't they still exist", I mean to say these other possibilities where he does not go to the river must continue to exist. Bioshock Infinite's Booker's death only cut off the universes where he went to the river. Or perhaps I missed something?
Yes, I suppose that would be another possibility here, but I think such a 'starting point' is the same as pointing out the universes where Booker never went to the river.
Well if he never goes to the river that is a mute point since in that reality there wouldn't be a Comstock. The game is all about the Booker who does go to the river and the choice he makes there. I guess that is a problem when dealing with infinite possibilities is there must be Booker's who didn't fight at wounded knee, ones who didn't have Anna, ones where Anna's mother doesn't die from child berth, etc. The paradox is only formed after the being reborn at the river.