Mass Effect 3 - Is Shepard Indoctrinated?

Yes, yes this is ANOTHER Mass Effect 3 ending thread, and yes I am as disappointed as the rest of you. I am here however to pose a question. Is it possible that the entire ending scene was effectively a dream sequence as a result of indoctrination? I understand that this probably makes less sense than the original ending, but bear with me for a while as I explain.

First things first, let's take a look at the avatar that the Catalyst took on. It took on the form of a child that has been haunting Shepard for the entire game, a child that NO OTHER PERSON interacts with. Yes, the child is only alive for one mission, but neither Anderson nor the soldiers in the shuttle even acknowledged the kids presence. What if this is the beginning stage of indoctrination, with the Reapers using the child to twist Shepard's emotions in an attempt to control him. If anyone has read the Mass Effect books, namely Ascension, Grayson experiences indoctrination as voices in his head and images that haunt him in his sleep. Now, Shepard is bleeding out and has practically passed out from blood loss at the base of the command podium of the Citadel.

This child again re-appears and it is from this point that most players have an issue with the ending. I would suggest reading this article, as an important point came up when reading it. Basically, [i]"Instead, much like the victims of the Reapers themselves, the player is robbed of all free will or even the chance to make the case for it. They must do as they are told, and choose."[i] Shepard has no choice but one put forward to him by the Reapers, fooling him into completing their will. What if synthesis, supposedly the "happy" ending, is where the Reapers continue to harvest all life and store them in a synthetic Reaper form as they have done for every cycle, a mix of organic and synthetic, a point the Catalyst admits is the purpose of the Reapers.

As for the other two endings, lets evaluate them for a second. Taking control of the Reapers is coloured blue, to which many associate with the paragon option, while red is renegade and "bad". However, in this case, blue is also linked with The Illusive Man, and red with Anderson, who throughout the entire series have been considered bad and good respectively. What if this is the Catalyst manipulating you into a decision that is ultimately bad for the entire galaxy?

With this, bear in mind that the only ending that Shepard will survive in is if you take the destroy option and have a high enough EMS. When Shepard awakes, he is in rubble that looks like the Earth he supposedly left to board the Citadel, but what if he never left? What if the whole sequence was Shepard fighting indoctrination in his head?

This unfortunately doesn't explain much of the ending cutscenes afterwards, but lets not even pretend they made sense in the first place. Thoughts? Maybe you might agree, or just decide I'm completely batshit insane, but either way let me know.



Thats a pretty big stretch really, but it does explain the lack of a good ending.

Lets also realize that the Shepard in the Crucible has no N7 logo and the one waking up does.
The Shepard in Space isn't wearing a helmet.
Your squad is transported off earth instant somehow and makes it a Normandy who is leaving Earth
And the F did Anderson get there before you.

Wow. First time i hear abour this theory. So you mean that it would be like Shepard waking up after Harbinger hit him/her? Instead of getting up and going up on the Citadel, considering Harbinger was close by and is possibly a leader figure in Reaper terms, it could've indoctrinated Shepard into this whole story and if you choose to destroy the Reapers then you break free of Harbinger's clontrol and wake up for real back on Earth on the battlefield?

There is a massive thread about this on the Bioware forums and as interesting as it is, I think it is a lot of reaching and trying to cover up for what is basically lazy writing. I'd love for it to be true but that is mostly because the whole idea of the ending as is being all there is makes me throw up in my mouth.
Anyone interested should just read this.

Maybe the Normandy crash cutscene could be a hallucination to assure Shep he did the right thing. IT did come before he awoke, no?

I KNOW THIS IS LENGTHY BUT READ IT AND IT DOES MAKE SENSE .I like this theory that everything after the final push to the teleporter was all in shepards head, and that was him fighting the indoctrination. It would make the last part of the game make sense. I truly think that the reapers are attempting to indoctrinate him throughout the entire game. The catalyst is the proof. Every time you see the boy its merely a hallucination of the indoctrination. There is no other legit explanation for why the catalyst takes the form of that boy. Some want to say that the catalyst takes that form because the kids death was hard on shepard and was a prominent thought in his mind, but in 100% of previous encounters of an alien entity taking form of someone from the viewers mind in any other plot the entity explains that they took that form because its easiest for the viewer to process. this however does not apply to ME3 shepard seems to accept the impossible fact that this ancient AI looks exactly like the boy that he seen playing on the roof of a skyscraper and also told him he couldnt be saved and helplessly watch die in the beginning of the game. Another indicator that everything after the final push is in shepards head is Anderson. if you notice Anderson doesnt have a scratch on him, there can be no other explanation for this other than its all in shepards head. Shepards battle armor was nearly completely blown off from by the reapers while running to the telepoter and yet Anderson gets to the teleporter without a scratch wearing only a regular military uniform, bullshit, the entire hammer force was wiped out so no one was left to have taken out the reapers guarding the teleporter so how could anderson all by himself get past the reapers without a scratch and get on the citadel AFTER shepard, yet comeout ahead of shepard on the citadel. The only way this can be justified is that the last part of the game is in shepards head otherwise Anderson would have been injured just as Shepard was since he followed shepard into the teleporter. I expect another game to come out with shepard coming out of acoma, and whatever ending you choose in ME3 only impacts your mental state and paragon. It would also be nice if they make the game an actual war with the reapers with actual space battles aboard the Normandy seeing as how The entirety of ME3 is of you gathering forces for a battle that you never get to really see or participate in, and out of 3 games they still failed to deliver any space battles that let you control the Normandy in battle, I mean after getting a glimpse of the thousands maybe even millions of reapers at the end of ME2 I was expecting a grander scale of war and to be able to fight against hundreds of reapers not the few rare encounters like it was. Bioware please get your artisticly ignorant thumb out your butt and Make us the Game that we have been waiting for, since ME1 we have been waiting for a FULL OUT WAR with the extremely ancient and IMMENSE forces of the reapers the ACTUAL REAPERS not just their ground forces and bottom line ME3 DID NOT DELIVER THAT. I have faith Bioware dont let us down, and Im not buying any other games made by you or EA untill you have made the Mass Effect game we have been waiting for since we learned of the reapers in ME1. DONT LET US DOWN BIOWARE!!!!!!!!

I don't buy it one bit. All the red/green/blue stuff is trying really hard to do something really simple. If the Catalyst was allowed to lie, then all he needs to do was point to the big self-destruct button and tell Shepard that that was what fixed it.

If one option was better than the others for humanity than why above earth would the catalyst ever tell Shepard about it? All the information was relayed through the Catalyst and Shepard knew nothing about how the whole thing worked. Heck if the Reapers had shut up and just not indoctrinated Shepard in this plan, than Shepard would just bleed out not knowing which button to press and the Reapers could destroy everyones fleets.

Indoctrination is going out of your way to possibly screw up your plans.

And if the crucible has the power for a 'Reapers' win button that everyones relying on. Why didn't the Reapers build it themselves? If it's a Reaper trap they could just build the thing, seize the Citadel and press 'Reapers win' (for that matter, if the Catalyst has that power, then when they had control of it they could press the button before Shepard even gets there).

And if it isn't a Reaper trap, why did all the races fighting to destroy the Reapers include a 'harvest all sentient lifeforms button'

And if we're arguing that Shepard never left earth, it seems like it would have been easy to just kill him in the rubble than indoctrinate him. We know all the human forces got wiped out. By this point of the game I'm not sure what advantage there would be to the Reapers indoctrinating Shepard. They're just about to wipe out the entire military force of the galaxy.

I know the ending wasn#t satisfying for a lot of people and indoctrination is a fun little twist and what if, but if we're asking if it holds up in a realistic manner? It doesn't really.

Now THIS is an old thread.... Welcome to last year folks....

While i'm here....

BioWare have already debunked the indoctrination theory.

Nice that people cling to it though.

I think that in all likeniness, his character would have been mentally affected after all the things he's encountered, but in terms of the story, it's not the main point. It doesn't matter from Bioware's point of view, and thus probably shouldn't for you.

It's like the big debate over Inception's ending; Nolan just responded by saying that "there is no right explanation".
In his eyes, it wasn't important whether or not the totem fell. The real twist was that John Cobb was ignoring that for the first time and instead paying attention to his kids.

TL;DR it's important to not read too far into fiction (past what the author(s) intended).

BioWare have already debunked the indoctrination theory.

Nice that people cling to it though.

Don't you get it? Of course they would try to cover it up. It was all an inside job, man, and I know exactly who's involved. I have lists, dates, names - everything. THEY would try to deny it and THEY wouldn't want me to tell anybody but I KNOW! If I suddenly "go missing", know that they've finally gotten to me. Then rumours would start flying that I've been indoctrinated but I'll leave you with this


BioWare have already debunked the indoctrination theory.

Nice that people cling to it though.

Don't you get it? Of course they would try to cover it up. It was all an inside job, man, and I know exactly who's involved. I have lists, dates, names - everything. THEY would try to deny it and THEY wouldn't want me to tell anybody but I KNOW! If I suddenly "go missing", know that they've finally gotten to me. Then rumours would start flying that I've been indoctrinated but I'll leave you with this

It's okay DoPo....

They might take you but they won't kill you.

That comes later as an extended ending by which time we'll have enough fan fiction to make it look like you escaped and you lived happily ever after on a beach drinking Martini and boning EDI.

Then someone will mod in you living happily ever after on a beach drinking Martini but boning Tali ..... because, Talimancers are everywhere.

Well it was a better theory of the story compared to what Bioware gave us. But still they did debunk it.

Jacob Contreras:

why the fuck did you necro this?....seriously

it doesnt matter, Idonctrination theroy was AWSOME but its debunked...we have to move on



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