There’s a lot of people out there unhappy and/or confused with the way their three part Mass Effect experience came to close. I’ll count myself as one of the confused ones, but I find it hard to be unhappy with a series that brought me so much enjoyment in nearly every other way. Mass Effect is everything I look for in an RPG- enjoyable game play, a customizable main character, and an expansive well-thought-out branching story with well acted characters. Much like a good book, I didn’t always need to rely on the visuals to tell the story I wanted to be a part of. My inferences filled in the blanks when the story wavered or when I wondered where other characters where, what they were doing, or how they were behaving. Normally this occurred seamlessly without me really need to think about it, but for the ending, it took me a half a day to sort out what exactly happened. My ending seemed to have far too many holes. What I came up with was a bunch of scenes that I believe were omitted from my characters ending. It is not a rewrite or a secret fourth option I feel should be added, only what I feel must have happened at the end of my play through given the simultaneous evidence and lack of information the final moments of the game provided me. Hopefully this will help other people who, like me, need closure regarding the final moments of one of their favorite game series ever. New Scenes will appear in italics.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
We begin in a decimated London following the initial push. Spica Shepard (My Paragon Fem-Shep) has brought the maximum amount of war assets and Galactic readiness sits at a healthy 99%. She supposed to go meet with Anderson. She walks up the ramp and talks with her LI, Garrus. If your Femshep is with Garrus you get some nice dialogue here.
She continues on to Liara who gives Shepard her gift. Though my Shepard has never been romantic with Liara, it has become clear to me that Liara has fallen in love with her. Her interactions with Shepard in all three games particularly earlier on the citadel and this moment all point to this. This is one of those seamless inferences I was talking about.
Fast forward to the final push- getting by Harbinger. Shepard takes Garrus and Liara along with her. As the three of them dash towards the prongs with the other soldiers, Shepard becomes separated from them. She is blasted aside by Harbinger’s beam.
Garrus cries out for Shepard and tries to run to her. Liara, in slow motion, can see that Shepard is still alive and that a beam is headed towards her and Garrus. With all of her might She biotic pushes Garrus far out of the way and takes the blast for him. Liara’s dead, the push knocks Garrus out. This for me explains why at the end of the game Garrus appears unscathed and Liara is never seen again. It also brings a satisfying yet bittersweet end to the Garrus/Femshep/Liara love triangle. Liara sacrifices herself so that Garrus and Femshep can live together happily.
Shepard, severely injured manages to get up to the citadel. So does Anderson, somehow- but I’ll let that one slide.
Cortez comes by in a new shuttle to pick up survivors with Jack and her biotics providing cover. Garrus is the only one they find alive. Jaavik is on the shuttle as well. He mourns the death of Liara as he would a Prothean. They hurry back to the Normandy. Kaiden is told that as the other spectre on the Normandy, he will command in Shepard’s place.
Up on the Citadel, the Illusive Man appears out of nowhere because he is indoctrinated. Inference- As an indoctrinee, the Catalyst doesn’t fear him, so it doesn’t matter that he snuck aboard before the reapers stole the citadel . Shepard talks at him so much that he kills himself.
She then takes the heavenly elevator and goes and talks to the child. Inference- The Catalyst appears as the child from Shepard’s dreams because the child is a symbol of lost hope. The Catalyst believes that by appearing as “Hope,” Shepard will be more inclined to believe what it has to say. Shepard will also be more susceptible to indoctrination. The Catalyst is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. In her weakened physical and emotional state, the indoctrination process warps Shepard. She begins to say things my Shepard would never say ie: “So, the Illusive Man was right.” She responds to the Catalyst as if what it’s saying makes sense in some way. The Catalyst tries to corrupt the player by changing the way it presents it’s options:
Option 1: Destroy the reapers presented in Renegade Red. The Catalyst does not want you to do this one. Shepard will probably die. EDI and the Geth will die, it claims- trying to tug on your heartstrings.
Option 2: Control the reapers presented in Paragon Blue. The Catalyst doesn’t care if you do this one. You’ll be absorbed, you’ll think you have control, the reapers may temporarily withdraw, but I don’t buy it. Become everything you fight against- Sounds like the indoctrination talking.
Option 3: Fuse all organics with the synthetics. The Catalyst wants you to do this one, trying to make it seem like the best option. Sure, lets make a choice for the entire galaxy that warps our genetic make up so that we’re all part robot. Sounds like android Nazism to me. I’m not drinking the cool-aid.
Shepard tries to shoot the catalyst. Damnit. I hate all these choices. She looks out the window and sees all the destruction. Inference- Comm links are down. Shepard feels the effects of indoctrination. If she waits any longer, the catalyst will force her to make the choice it wants her to make.
There really is only one option: Finish the mission- Destroy the reapers. EDI said earlier that the reapers are selfish and only interested in self preservation. The Catalyst is lying to Shepard to save itself.
Unbeknownst to Shepard, EDI and the remaining Normandy team are listening in on the dialogue. Here the Child’s voice sounds monstrous- like Harbinger’s. EDI was able to track Shepard and fix her comm link on their end. Everyone is concerned with Shepard’s choice as they can hear the indoctrination (Or songs of oily shadows) in her tone. EDI is convinced that Shepard will make the correct one. She explains that the Crucible’s red beam will release an astronomical Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) that will obliterate the circuits of all active tech. However powered down tech (As is the case in a real, non sci-fi, EMP) will remain intact. Reaper tech cannot be shut down as it is the pinnacle of synthetic advancement. Reapers, Mass Relays, EDI and the new Geth do not have an off switch or even an energy saving sleep mode. They will all be fried. Joker looks horrified, but EDI assures him that it’s the only course of action.
Kaiden sends out a message to Earth and all fleets to prepare to shut down all of their systems on his signal. Tali sends out an additional message to her people to power down their suits. She tells the Geth to ready hard back-ups of their new awakened personalities. She promises to rebuild them, just as they promised to rebuild Rannoch. Joker compels EDI to back up her personality as well, but she is too integrated into the Normand’s systems. If EDI is to survive, Joker must manually out-run the EMP while she backs up.
Shepard decides its now or newer and starts to shoot at the device with growing fervor.
Kaiden can hear the gunshots on the comm. “Now!” he commands.
Shepard destroys the device and is blown backwards.
Every Ship in the fleet powers down. Earth goes dark. Quarians nervously turn off their suits. For a moment, the Reapers have a field day, destroying ships and breaking through on the battlefield. We see James with a unit on earth get murdered by a Banshee, because I never see him again, and I don’t particularly like him. Take that Mr. Michelle Gellar!
Diana Allers is in a safe house doing a last minute report, not powering down her camera despite the order. The light on her camera attracts a group of Cannibals. She is ripped apart in a gory scene. You too, Chobot!
The EMP hits and all the reapers die. The Mass Relays and the Citadel shorts out. Joker races to beat the explosion (See, suddenly this makes sense).
EDI backs up her personality to a data pad with Tali’s assistance. They’re running out of time.
The EMP catches the Normandy and they crash on a tropical garden planet- That must have been previously discovered if it’s in any proximity to the Sol System.
For a moment, no one is sure what to do. Tali turns her suit back on successfully. She is relieved. She flips on her datapad and turns it to show Joker the screen: Download complete. And thus-
Joker exit’s the ship happily. Jaavik joins him with new perspective following Liara’s death. Garrus joins as well, wondering if Shepard made it out alive- believing that she did.
Tali Stays inside with Chakwas who checks on her. Engineer Adams mutters to himself about the ship being totaled. Kaiden helps Cortez out of the wreckage, they share a moment. Close on Garrus looking up at the sky as if he’s searching for Shepard.
Weird wintery ending that no one cares about.
Shepard in the rubble, draws a breath- Confirming to me my belief that The Catalyst was lying.
From here I can infer a suitable aftermath that involves the races coming together to rebuild earth, the mass relays and their own planets. The Geth get rebuilt, Shepard is found- poetically by Miranda who brought her back once before. The Normandy Team is recovered, Shepard and Garrus have a threeway with an Asari surrogate- everyone’s happy.
Granted- I don’t need a happy ending to be pleased with the ending of the series, just one that is devoid of major holes and is catered to my character’s development- as promised. I don’t believe that the writers of Mass Effect need to come up with a new ending to appease the masses because I think the writers told the story they wanted to tell. It’s the execution- that was so perfect in many other parts of the game- I found to be weak.
Still- there’s a great charity that you can donate to that’s rallying for a new ending. You can check them out here: http://retakemasseffect.chipin.com
Other than that I hoped you enjoyed Spica Shepard’s ending. Piecing it together was the best thing for me to do following an ending that made me feel like I wanted to kick a puppy.