Mass Effect Month: Day 28 – Giveth and Taketh Away

We’re back with our month-long Mass Effect challenge! For previous days, click here.

Mass Effect Month, Day 28: Destroy, control, or synthesize?

Who came up with these questions??

I know you all are sick of me blathering on about Mass Effect, but once this month is over and everyone’s had a chance to recover from 30 days of talking about every facet of BioWare’s space opera (and by everyone, I mean me), I will (eventually) be talking a bit about the endings and how they actually are representative of different schools of philosophical thinking. But this is suppose to be a fun, lighthearted post, so, as Aragorn so famously said, “There may come a day when Athena talks at length about philosophy and how it relates to the endings of Mass Effect 3, but it is not this day!” Or… words to that effect, I’m sure.

Image result for aragorn not amused

In the spirit of keeping things light, I would like to say that I’m not discussing the merits of how BioWare handled the endings, or whether the choice was an illusion, or any other sort of “quality” points about the endings. They were what they were in regards to design, and I’ve talked elsewhere about why they don’t suck, and how the Catalyst may have actually been right. Today, my interest is simply in what you chose for your ending.

My personal opinion is that, even though it seems harsh to sacrifice EDI and the geth, the destroy option is the only one that holds with Shepard’s true goal for the duration of the three games. Synthesis is what Saren the Indoctrinated wanted to do, back in the first game, and Shepard was absolutely against that. Control is what The Illusive Man the Indoctrinated wanted, and Shepard was against that, too.

Image result for the illusive man

Now that I’ve pissed off everyone who chose Control or Synthesize, I’d also like to say that I do acknowledge that “things would be different because it’s Shepard.” While I am not a big fan of that particular argument, I am willing to entertain the idea that, in the Mass Effect universe, this would be true. I wouldn’t trust anyone other than Shepard to control the Reapers, and, well, Shepard certainly has a lot of opportunities to spread his/her genetic code throughout the galaxy prior to the final ending, so synthesis is right up his/her alley, as well.

All kidding aside, I think there are plenty of very good arguments that can be made for any of the three endings. I also think that there can be an argument made for the Indoctrination Theory, if you’re so inclined, as well.

So, you knew this was coming, didn’t you?

What about you? What’s your “canon” ending? Did you destroy the Reapers, control them, or synthesize organic and synthetic life? Or did you give a giant middle finger to the Catalyst and let organic life be annihilated? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

I should go,

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  1. I still like to brag that I predicted an ending like this way back in ME1, purely because Sheridan ends the Shadow War in Babylon 5 in a similar fashion. The entire ME trilogy feels to me like Bioware wanted to make a B5 game but couldn’t get the rights 😛 Anyway I chose synthesis as that option was closest to Sheridan’s re: the younger races of the galaxy. Just felt right to me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I chose the synhetsis option, simply because I don’t like wiping out entire species, if you can count the reapers as that. The way the choices were presented, I almost felt like the Reapers feared the current beings and needed to wipe them away because of that fear. I found the fear was unmet given how out matched we were against the reapers, but in the end, I can see from that child like, naive point of view why they would choose to try to wipe away all life. Because of that, my only option was the synthesize and have everyone co-exist.

    I do hear your point about Saren wanting this option which Sheppard initially was against. I quickly watched a vid highlighted Saren’s thoughts on the topic of synthesis and how the catalyst presented to Sheppard. It does indeed sound like the same thing, and really make me question if this was the right thing. But I can’t help Saren wanted it for different reasons, and the catalyst presented it in a way as to move forward and stop fighting. The catalyst said it was the next significant evolution, and when worded like that, I think i was sold. Evolution is to me what shaped life as it is and help not only us, but many creatures advance to where they are now. It only seemed natural, but again not so sure.

    I also saw synthesis as a way for reapers and humans to see each other as equals, instead of threats or lesser beings. However some audio in that clip suggested synthesis could make us susceptible to the suggestions of the reapers, which is a scary though in the context of Mass Effect. Was synthesis really a means for the Reapers to eventually control us? But deceitfully presented as a peace offering? This kind of makes sense now that I keep rambling on, given one of the other choices is to control the reapers.


  3. I think to answer this fairly, we have to assume that all options are offered in good faith and that they will end the reaper harvesting cycle, if not the reapers themselves.

    I agree with you that Destroy is the ‘optimal’ solution from my point of view. It is the ultimate goal of Shep throughout the story and the only true solution.

    Control feels more like a compromise than anything else. The problem with it is what happens after everyone Shepard knows has been dead for 1,000 years. How will she be able to relate to the organics in the galaxy. Of course, you could assume that Shepard will either send them out into dark space to hibernate forever or perhaps gather them in the Haelstrom system just before its sun goes supernova, after using them to help in the reconstruction of course.

    I don’t have any problem with Synthesis per say apart I don’t have a clear idea what it means on a physiological level that I would find acceptable. Also, I hate how Synthesis is portrayed on a cosmetic level. The green glow looks ugly and disgusting, making everyone look more like husks that anything else. Perhaps, is the cosmetic affect of Synthesis was more appealing, I’d be more inclined to accept it.

    The Refusal option is also valid. We don’t see Shepard die at the end, so perhaps she escapes and continues the fight. But then that means either her whole mission has failed or the story is unfinished. In general, that is not quite satisfying.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I just couldn’t sacrifice EDI or the geth so Destroy was off the table for me. Control seemed like a bad idea (no one should have that kinda power, even Shepard). I reluctantly chose to sacrifice myself and use my genetic code to usher in the dawn of a utopia in the Milky Way galaxy. Sure, everyone glowing a weird green colour was unsettling, but they all seemed so happy! The Reapers were even helping rebuild everything they destroyed. Eerie tranquility FTW!

    Um, I’m not indoctrinated… I swear 😛 I just have a wicked headache for another reason, haha.


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