A few loose ends (ending spoiler alert)

#1 Edited by ana1395 (9 posts) -

It's a long post, trust me, I know, but I think that it points out a few important issues that are worth considering regarding the whole plot, philosophy and physics of the game and it's good to be read,especially if one is a big fan of the game and its story :D Also, if someone has an explanation, I would be more than delighted to read about it.

One can grasp the sense of many of the things in the game , but there are still a few loose ends.

- Firstly, which Booker is drowned? If it's the version of Booker that the player controls (the version of Booker that gets to the end of things, instead of getting killed and failing), than the drowning is pointless, since it's a Booker who already made a decision, it's a future Booker, one who already passed the moment of the decision regarding the baptism. Killing a future Booker won't change the past, it's the other way around, isn't it? And the game shows us the Booker we control is the one getting drowned. BUT if SOMEHOW the past Booker (the Booker at the precise moment of the decision, since we can see Elizabeth being able to travel through time, not just through space) is drowned, than this is also illogical, since the Booker from that moment (the moment prior the baptism), won't know about all the stuff you learn throughout the game, since they haven't happened yet, have they?

- Furthermore, if we are able to set the above issue aside, there is the question of the moment of the drowning. Does it take place before the choice is even made, preventing there to be both Booker and Comstok or does it happen after he accepts the baptism, thus his drowning resulting in only Comstok being killed? If we accept the first explanation, than it means that not only Comstok, but the Booker who has Anna and sell her and etc. ceases to ever exist. This would seem to make sense the most, but then again, what of the last scene where Booker wakes up in the apartment with Anna being in her crib? If Booker is killed before the moment of choosing (whether to take or refuse the baptism), than the last scene could not possibly take place after the drowning . But if we accept that he is drowned after choosing to go through with the baptism, than Elizabeth's line "You should be drowned before the choosing takes place, before Comstok is ever born (paraphrased)", (which indicates that he is killed before he can ever make the decision) is the one who cancels out our choise or it's misplaced/misused. Also, being drowned after accepting the baptism, doesn't cut off all the branches, so there is no possible way that every version of Comstok is dead (and Elizabeth specifies that by this, Comstok ceases to exist everywhere).

- The next issue is this: Booker chooses to let Elizabeth drown him. But since it's a choice, than, accordingly with the multiverse theory in the game, another universe is created where he refuses to be killed. Thus, even if Booker is drowned in one universe (before or after the choosing) there is another universes where Comstok continues to exist, since Booker refused the drowning. This means that not all Comstoks disappear, but still Elizabeth states as a fact that with the drowning being initiated ALL Comstoks cease to exist. The two possible ways this can be discarded are the following: 1. since parallel universes are created by one choosing something, the only way an alternate-universe-where-Booker-refuses-the-drowning is NOT created is if there is no moment of choosing (whether to accept or refuse the drowning) AT ALL. And a moment of choosing is created when one is feeling uncertain whether one wants something or not. This would imply that Booker never even contemplated the possibility of refusing the drowning and he never ever wanted to avoid it, thus stopping a moment of choosing to take place (logically preventing the alternate universe of being created). OR 2. The above is bullshit, but rather Elizabeth is omnipotent which allows her to put a stop of the creation of whichever universe she wishes.

- Another issue is connected with Elizabeth's statement while they go through Booker's past: they cannot alter things that already happened, they can only revisit and watch. Than how the hell can she drown him IN THE PAST (since it is a fact that they go back in time so he can get killed)? If your first answer is she's omnipotent, than what is the need of that line?

- And the BIGGEST issue of all which shows that there is NO WAY IN HELL that EVERY Comstok EVERYWHERE is prevented from existing by Booker getting drowned (which is what Elizabeth states AS A FACT): There are a lot of moments in one's life where one makes a choice (initiating the creation of alternate universes). Many of them are so insignificant (like choosing to go to the bathroom first and than to the kitchen, instead of the other way around) that they do not make changes in one's life (but do end up creating new universes). This would lead to the existence of infinite Bookers who will eventually end up choosing or refusing the baptism. But every one of them is part of a different branch, so drowning one Booker will kill of only certain Comsoks, but not EVERY Comstok, as Elizabeth suggests (since many of those universes are linked by a choice other that the baptism one). Thus there are still infinite number of Comstoks alive at the end of the game. What's more intriguing are the Luteces. They keep repeating the cycle of bringing a Booker to the Columbia universe to save Elizabeth and to get drowned at the end. But some of them ought to have failed (get killed somewhere along the way), which will leave many universes without a Booker to save Elizabeth, get drowned and kill a bunch of Comstoks along with him. And those Bookers cannot be replaced since every Booker that does reach the end gets drowned, thus killed. But there are also (accordingly to the multiverse theory) infinite number of Lutece pairs who initiate the cycle again and again, just like the pair Rosalind and Robert we get to meet during the gameplay. This only leads to the conclusion, that because of the infinite number of possibilities, there can't be put a stop to the existence of Comstok, which is what Rosalind is trying to tell Robert all the time: "Once things are set in motion, they cannot be stopped". She's not a fatalist, she merely understands the concept of the multiverse better than Robert himself does. Even the game's name allude to this fact-INFINITE. So the cycle the Luteces start over and over in order to prevent Comstok from ever existing can never end and history will repeat itself forevermore - Lives, lived, will live; Dies, died, will die.

There will always be Bookers and Comstoks who die, who died and will continue to die for eternity and Luteces who will try to right their wrongs. There will always be the cycle, the infinite loop.

#2 Edited by StarvingGamer (8254 posts) -

The entire ending is symbolic/not taking place in the regular multiverse. Booker from the future isn't going to the past to watch himself do things, he is actually inhabiting his own body during past events and reliving them. Not a common effect of traditional time/dimensional travel. Also everything is colored weird.

If we accept this is true, then we can conclude that the drowning of Booker is also symbolic, but symbolic of what? We know that the BioShock Infinite multiverse/section of the multiverse deals in variables and constants. Constants is the import thing here, as it implies that while their multiverse is infinite, it is a smaller version of a truly infinite multiverse as dimensional splits only occur at the point of a variable.

Therefore, one conclusion we can draw is that while infinite Booker/Comstock pairs may exist, they all originate from a single point, the accepts/rejects baptism variable. Given the symbolic nature of the ending, it follows that the "drowning" of Booker is actually a metaphor for Elizabeth using her unshackled powers to change the accepts/rejects baptism from a variable to a constant, which is somewhat supported by the post-credits tease.

#3 Edited by ana1395 (9 posts) -

@starvinggamer: I'm afraid I didn't get the first paragraph.. maybe you could explain it better? But there is no one point of origin, but many different since many Bookers got to the point of choosing. but even if it's so, your explanation it's pretty satisfying, makes sense :D

Also, I know i wrote that Liz is omnipotent, but is she really? Or can she just open tears whenever and to wherever she wants and look through all the doors once the Siphon is destroyed?

And what of her pendant changing when you go through universes? Does that symbolize that you are not with "your" Liz, but another one? And if yes, how did that happen?

But there is no one point of origin, but many different since many Bookers got to the point of choosing. but even if it's so, your explanation it's pretty satisfying, makes sense :D

Furthermore, the plot can be interpreted using Lutece's "Is, was, will be", which can allude to all things happening at the same time, every loop/cycle everywhere is happening simultaneously and will continue to be like that no matter what. Because if Liz put a stop to all of it, we wouldn't have been able to play the game at the first place, but since we do it can mean that "it is, it was and it will be happening", and no matter what we do in the game, the same things will occur because they "have happened, are happening and will be happening". Although, this theory cancels out the role of Liz, her powers and the Lutece's efforts to right a wrong.

#4 Posted by StarvingGamer (8254 posts) -

@ana1395: Sorry went out to dinner.

Basically everything that occurs after stepping through the tear into "Rapture" is not regular time/interdimensional travel, but instead takes place in a pocket reality crafted by Elizabeth for Booker's benefit. If Booker and Elizabeth had dimension hopped the usual way to the point when he gave Annabelle to Robert Lutece, there would have been two Bookers in the room, and past Booker would probably start freaking out about why an older version of him was standing there with a young woman.

Whether this pocket reality is a physical thing or merely within Booker's mind is irrelevant. The key takeaway is that, following the logic of the events preceding it, Booker's drowning should not be taken as a literal event.

As far as there being no one point of origin, I actually believe that is incorrect. Rather than thinking of the multiverse as an infinite number of lines running in parallel, think of it as a branching tree. At one point, in one universe, one Booker reached the baptism where the variable occurred creating two universes, one where Booker rejected baptism and one where he became Comstock. From this point on, the individual Booker/Comstock branches continued to spread out in an infinite number of ways, creating an infinite number of Booker/Comstock pairings with one specific origin point.

The "Lives, lived, will live" bit is more talking about the fourth-dimensional nature of the Luteces, Elizabeth, and Lady Comstock.

#5 Posted by ana1395 (9 posts) -

@starvinggamer: Was the dinner good? Did you have fun? Any spoiled eggs? :D

I understand what you are saying about about the tree and the one point/one Booker/one Comstock, but following the multiverse logic, there should be many universes created by Booker because he made a choice regarding things that later on made no big difference in his life what so ever. And later on those Bookers made the same "important" choices as The One Booker you are mentioning it, leading them to the baptism choice at one point in their life.

What about Elizabeth and her changing pendant? Is that suppose to hint that the first Elizabeth you encounter is not the same with the Elizabeth(s) that accompany Booker in the other tears?

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