So, I have bitched and moaned about all the problems I have with other things, but I thought that I would now do a top 10 post nitpicking the hell out of things I like. Now, I’m not limiting this to any genre. These are just the 10 plotholes in things I like that got to me. There is something from almost every genre in here. I hope you enjoy.
10. The Caretaker’s Array
Star Trek: Voyager
So, the conflict in the first episode set up the entire series to follow about this vessel and its voyage home. But here’s the thing – all of this could have been avoided. I do have a large affinity for this show. It was a show I grew up with. But at the same time, I have to point out that there would have been an EASY way to avoid the entire mess. I mean, how did no one think of this? Janeway had a choice – use the Caretaker’s Array to go back home, or destroy it and bring an end to the experiments being done. She chose to destroy it, thus stranding her crew across the galaxy from home. Getting out of this situation would have been so easy. All she needed to do was leave a torpedo or two in the place with enough time to get back home and make sure that it wasn’t able to be messed with. Simple, clean and efficient. I don’t begrudge the main conflict in this series, as I do like it, but I do recognize that despite how good this series was over all, this plot point was a mute point. They could have fixed this in 20 minutes and been back home chilling with their people.
9. Wishing for More Wishes Rule
If the Internet is good at one thing, it is finding neat ways around rules. I mean, for real, this should have been the simplest thing in the world to fix. They show that Aladdin is a smart guy. He should have seen that getting around the Genie’s rule was easy. I get that they wanted to make it so that kids would get a good message about not being greedy, along with making a plot point to keep it from getting insane, but still. All Aladdin needed to do is to wish for the rule about wishing for more wishes to be gone. Or to wish that he could make more wishes. This would be so simple, yet he never does it. And you never see him try, do you? Think about it – somebody HAD to have figured this out. Maybe the Genie was just saying it so that he didn’t end up dealing with a God.
8. The Death Star’s Weakness
Star Wars IV: A New Hope
The thing that blows up the most advanced warship in the entire galaxy, with a weapon powerful enough to destroy a planet, is a small hole that it takes only ONE torpedo to destroy? The plot problems in this are massive. For one – why did they need to go down that trench? Sure, it was an awesome and intense scene to watch, but really – why did they need to? One can move in any direction in space. So why not just come down from above and send the torpedo directly in? Wouldn’t have needed the Force for that. Also, how did NOBODY in the Empire see that this design flaw existed? Were the contractors secretly with the Rebellion? Or how about this – why did they move around the planet Yavin? For real, if they had turned that gun on the planet, you can bet that the Rebel base would have been blasted to pieces. Along with everything else on that moon. The explosion force, along with the billions of metric tons of debris would have destroyed everything on the surface, if not ripping the moon apart as well. It would have made the battle against the Rebel base so much easier. I love this movie, but this is a glaring problem that I have to point out.
7. Nobody heard you say “Rosebud”
Arguably the greatest film of all time, the central plot point of this film was figuring out what he meant when he said this. But you see very clearly in the scene where he does say it that not one person was in the room with him. So how did they find out that he said it? Did somebody have the room bugged? Actually, this was before the point where we had the kind of bugs that we have today. Even before the bugs that Nixon used in Watergate. So how exactly did anyone know that you had said this? If it wasn’t for the fact that the ENTIRE film is based on this one word, I wouldn’t take that much issue with it. But yeah, there is no way that people could have heard it, so a bird or something must have told them.
6. How are you not dead?!
I actually do take issue with this ending, because it is so strange and defies what would have biologically happened. See, in the book, the narrator realizes that he can’t stop Tyler Durden, because they are one in the same. So, when he sees how insane his other half’s plans are becoming, he decides to take the only logical path he can – he kills himself. It potentially saves lives and stops his rampage. In the film, the narrator puts the gun in his mouth, fires, and…he lives. You see a giant whole in his other half’s head, but not his. He sounds a little different, and looks hurt, but he isn’t dead. He stuck that gun in his mouth, pointing it up at his head. Given the calibur of the weapon he was firing, it isn’t possible that he wouldn’t have been dead. Now, I get why this was done – Americans hate unhappy endings. For real, when was the last tragic film that you saw? But this ending is totally nuts. There is no way that he wouldn’t be dead from that gunshot. If you are going to go around the book’s ending, can we not violate the laws of physics?
5. Memory is equivalent exchange?
I love the first series of this show WAY better than the second series. Brotherhood was an action show, and that took away from what the original series was – a character study. Edward and Alphonse tried to bring back their mother. They got all the physical components needed to make a body, then added some of their blood to get her soul back. But that wasn’t enough. Edward lost a leg to the exchange, Alphonse lost his whole body. Edward then lost his arm making a spirit attachment to bond Al’s soul to a suit of armor. The focus of the series was the two of them trying to get back what they lost. While there were supernatural elements to the series, like souls and bonding souls, the series did try to stay grounded in science, for the most part. When Edward is killed, Alphonse gets up, using the fact that his body is now the Philosopher’s Stone to reach into the gate and get Edward’s soul back, along with fixing his body. He makes the ultimate sacrifice in order to save his brother. That would have made for a beautiful and tragic ending. Edward believed that he was going to be the one to fix things for so long that he lost sight of how far down the rabbit hole he had gone. If it had ended with him making that sacrifice and Edward now having to move on with his life, that would have been an amazing ending. Instead, they have this REALLY weird exchange that Edward makes to get his brother back – his brother’s memories for his life and body. When you get down to it, memory is just chemical processes in the brain. While the soul is a metaphysical concept, it can’t be argued that your mind controls all of your processes. So how exactly can one’s memory be used as a currency in equivalent exchange? It makes no sense.
4. Joel’s cover-story
The Last of Us
So, while I love the scene with Ellie confronting Joel about his story and telling him her own story, I have to think – that cover-story was terrible. No wonder she didn’t buy it. It makes no sense. For one thing – if they just left because she wasn’t needed, why would she have been wearing her hospital gown? He did seem to be in a rush, wasn’t he? That’s kind of odd, don’t you think? What’s more, there would have been a FAR more believable cover for this – bandits. For real, an army of bandits came and attacked, some infected got involved and Joel had to get her out. When she asks if anyone else got out, he could have said that he didn’t have time to look back, they just had to keep running. Simple and believable. Instead, he tells her that they didn’t need her because they had given up on finding a cure. Like I said, no wonder she didn’t buy it. I don’t think any kid would.
3. Will and Lyra not being able to be together
The Amber Spyglass
This plothole amazes me. In one of the most miserably depressing endings of all time, this book ends with the two heroes, Will and Lyra, having to leave each other to go back to their own worlds. They can never, ever be together again. Now, the rational makes sense, in a way. They can’t live in either one’s world because they would start to decay. But we saw how that problem was able to be circumvented by a man from Lyra’s world who just periodically returned home to get his home world’s energy reboot. The other reasoning behind why they couldn’t be together was that all the windows that the two of them made had to be closed. Spectres were coming through and it was tearing the worlds apart. But Will had the Subtle Knife. He made a promise to destroy it once the last window was closed, but why not open a new one to Lyra’s world, close all the others and then break the knife? For real, this would have been so simple. I mean, it wasn’t like anyone had a gun to his head about this. He could have lied to them and then done what he wanted to anyway. So yeah, this plothole is gaping and easy to solve. And while I do like a tragic ending, not when it is unnecessarily tragic.
2. The Eagles
Lord of the Rings
Yeah, you all knew this was coming. This is a plot hole that is so massive that one can almost drive a truck through it. So much of these movies focuses on the fact that the journey to Mordor is hard and will probably kill them. But then you have these creatures who are massive and can easily carry passengers. They could have made this problem end in about five minutes. And I’ve heard all the explanations before. There is the “well they couldn’t have gotten close because of the evils of Mordor” excuse. If you see the scene where they are fighting it out with the Nazgul, they seem to be doing pretty well. And the dragon-creatures that Sauron has don’t appear to be plentiful. Then there is the “they are Eagle-gods and don’t want to interfere in the affairs of mortals” excuse. Yeah, that’s why they have interfered plenty of times before. So that excuse means nothing. This is a plothole that I have to expose because as much as I love these movies, it is massive. There are some awesome YouTube videos that have made fun of this. My personal favorite was the video from How It Should Have Ended. So yeah, this is nuts.
And the worst plothole in something I like is –
1. The Mass Effect 3 Ending (Everything from when you get back to Earth)
Mass Effect 3
Where do I begin? For starters – how did the Citadel get to Earth? I didn’t know it could move. And the entire ending of this game came down to three possibilities, each with unimaginable power involved. But before we get to them – how did the destruction of the Mass Relays not kill everyone? The extended cut takes away the explanation for that, which is better than it was before. But for real, each option uses the powers of the Mass Relays to bounce off of. What’s more, each of these makes the Mass Relays explode. How did everyone survive? If they were all trapped in the Sol system, how did the Turians and Quarians survive?
But now we get to the big ones. The different endings. First, let’s look at the destruction ending. Why are you shooting at the tube? When in the history of any device has shooting it caused it to work? Why are you walking toward the tube? It’s clear that it is going to explode. You can clearly see that it is going to explode. So why walk toward it? Then there is the control ending. How can your ephemeral spirit control the Reapers? Talk about pseudo-science. But the worst of all, betraying all laws of logic is the Synthesis ending. This ending literally is impossible. There is no possible way that a wave of green light is able to merge all organic and synthetic life. Plus, if you really think about this ending, you have condemned all of humanity to a nightmarish hell. Think about it – all the husks are given intelligence and are made partly organic. Moreso than they already were (another plot hole). So you are basically turning all the of the synthetic zombies into creatures that can understand how horrific their lot in life is. You are also turning all organic life into machines. That ending is literally impossible.
But the worst part about this ending, all the endless plotholes aside is that there is a plothole that everyone missed when talking about how bad this ending is, that came to me – how did you beat Sovereign? Think about it – if the AI system that controls all Reapers exists on the Citadel, controlling them all from there, how could you have possibly stopped Sovereign in the first game? Better yet – why did they need Sovereign anyway? Why couldn’t the AI program have opened the Mass Relay into Dark Space? The plot twist at the end is so bad that it actually invalidates every single thing you did throughout the entire series because it makes everything make no sense. Not to mention that my mission on Rannoch, reuniting the Geth and Quarians, proved that every single thing that hologram kid said was bullshit. But you can’t argue with him. You can’t say that he’s wrong. Instead, you just have to go with it and nothing you choose matters.
It is telling that I felt so much more closure from the Citadel DLC than I did from the ending of that game. I spent most of that DLC just shooting the shit with my people and getting to enjoy the bonds that I grew throughout three games. That is the kind of ending that I wanted. But everything after I reach Earth is boring. Nothing I did before matters. The armies I raised are immaterial. It means nothing. It all comes down to three choices that have no real weight because they have no genuine consequences. What’s more – when I was with Liara through the series, I then see her having gotten with Samara. Didn’t carry the torch for me long, did you?
I love Mass Effect. I love that universe. You made a game series where I could see my choices play out and know that I caused the events to unfold, good or bad. You made a game series that had me grow relationships and grow bonds of friendship that are beautiful and worth fighting for. But in the end, not one bit of it mattered. I get to the final battle on Earth and I just don’t care. I knew it was bad, but when I saw the true extent of how bad it was, I stopped caring. My choices didn’t matter and my final actions were meaningless. So many people say that they accept it because of it being “artistic” and “open to interpretation,” but the truth is that they just can’t do anything now, and are forced to live with it. With it being all-but-confirmed by this point that this series is going to continue, I can’t force myself to get the next game. I just don’t have that left in me anymore. Bioware, you fucked up. A pity that you couldn’t just admit it. And future games aren’t going to make this better. You can only make it worse.
So, what plotholes did you notice in the things that you like? I’ve already taken myself to task. Now I think you should too.
Until next time, a quote,
“What people need to realize is that we aren’t nitpicking the problem. What we’re nitpicking is the fact that we noticed it at all.” -Doug Walker