and now, onward to the delicious, <b><i>delicious</i></b> pathos
So, Natalie’s whole deal is heavily predicated on having sacrificed her friendships/emotional connection/empathy(?) in order to survive the HI.
Without Ortega and company as her Morality Chain (warning: TV Tropes), she slips back into seeing humans, people, and relationships as useful tools, exploitable, and transactions (respectively)
as she was raised to do? the X-23 feels are strong with this one. In addition, the out-of-body-telepathic-empathic-vision-of-near-death-no-wait-it-was-actual-death fiasco left her feeling…
Star Trek, the Menagerie Plato’s the Cave?
Well, if I was reading things correctly, the MC may have:
- actually have been raised chained up facing a wall most her life
- have gone through a reverse Cave experience
Suddenly, things seem more ephemeral, less real. The humans around her, constantly buzzing with thoughts, are more like soft whispers (if anything), hardly rousing her attention for the most part. She’s walking through a fog, the shadows of people passing her by, but now she wonders if the shadows are real or if it’s just her perception playing tricks on her.
However, things are clear-skied in Eden, her puppet. I don’t think Natalie would have lasted very long in her state of mind if she never had Eden as a respite—she is as much an escape as a tool. . As Eden, people seem to matter, colors exist, everything feels more solid and real.
Everyone except Ortega. That lovely sonuvabitch just seemingly burst back into Natalie’s life in full color like he was always there (that mustache wasn’t tho, “Ortega, what the fuck, did you survive the Heartbreak Incident by sacrificing your sense of style?”). She always had a bit of a crush on him but never said anything. It just…didn’t seem practical (is what she tells herself), besides it’s not like he ever made a move
beyond all that heavy-handed flirting and taking her to meet his mother Natalie, you emotional dumbass the fuck is wrong with you ANYWAY.
She flirts with him, as both Natalie and Ortega. She flirts with him as Natalie because it’s as natural as breathing
and she feels like she hasn’t breathed in a long, long time, and she flirts with him as Eden as a way of assessing him…initially.
Eventually it becomes…not quite a game, but it is
entertaining interesting, playing someone else and seeing his responses.
That, and it seems like Natalie is the kind of person who likes to twist the knife in both herself and others.
Certainly her relationship(s) with Ortega are less straight-forward than her relationship with Dr.
Good-n-Sexy Mortum, which is exactly the definition of a transactional relationship if I’ve ever seen one.
Finally, she minimizes civilian deaths at her debut not necessarily out of mercy, but more because it’s unnecessary. She, of all people, knows that trauma hurts worse than death, because it continues on, and there’s nothing more traumatic than realizing that you’re on your own, that your
parents heroes aren’t capable of protecting you the way you imagined. Even if no one died, they still didn’t succeed. That foundation of trust and faith is shaken. But most importantly, she can’t have the populace worrying about deaths, when they should be worrying about their lives. If too many had died, then people would be united in their hate, but with so many survivors, the people will be disorganized by their paranoia and fear. She doesn’t need to civilians coming together to help the heroes, she needs them to distrust the heroes and question them.
Well…because she’s the villain, and she’s a damn good one at that.
But why is she a villain, what’s her real motivation and how does this carry her into the some of the various endings I’ve chosen?
Well, as I said, I imagine that for her, villainy seems inevitable, like she couldn’t have stopped her descent from happening. Losing her morality chains…it’s like she’s fulfilling her destiny—rather, like she’s fulfilling her purpose.
Unfortunately for everyone, she’s really, really good at it.
This plays into the various endings I can imagine for her.
If her connection to Ortega as Natalie isn’t severed or destroyed in some way, I can genuinely see her pulling another heel-turn because
she has a weakness for Riker beards, there I said it she wants so badly to live a life, and I feel like, even after everything, Ortega would try to help in some way.
As it stands, I also see her rejecting him one last time—or alternatively, I can see him rejecting her, because even he has standards “The mustache doesn’t count as a lapse in morality, damn it.”, in which case…I could see her running off again, living in the wilderness, living for herself, because she wants to.
I also see her fulfilling her role as a villain and becoming the Shadow Broker, perhaps turning a cape or two.
And at this stage, I can see her just straight up killing everyone. Despite her affection for Ortega, there’s a fundamental disconnect in how she feels and how she acts with him, one of her own creation, that I imagine can only grow wider as the series progresses.
And, finally, I can see her just taking everyone out with her. She’s definitely unstable enough to just take down the West Coast with her, ngl.