The past few weeks, everyone on earth has been lamenting how truly atrocious the Mass Effect 3 ending was, but now new evidence is being produced that perhaps it was that opposite of bad. Maybe even…brilliant.
It’s called “The Indoctrination Theory” and it’s outlined in the lengthy (but worthwhile) video above. I’d heard whispers about it, that the entire last sequence was merely in Shepard’s mind and was a test of his resistance to the Reapers, but I thought it was desperate fans grasping at straws.
But then I watched the video, and I have to say, I was convinced about a third of the way through. Why? (obvious spoilers ahead) There are just so many little details that point to the theory being a reality. The visions of the child, which make little sense outside of this explanation. The fact that you shoot Anderson in the same place where you later have a wound. The fact that two of the choices you face, Control and Synthesis were those extolled by the indoctrinated Illusive Man and Saren respectively. The fact that only in the destroy ending do your eyes remain un-blued, the catalyst disappears and Shepard stirs in rubble back on earth.
And finally, it’s the fact that Bioware has created a brilliant story this entire time, and it’s completely out of character to make an ending that was that poor. If this theory is true, it turns out they were smarter than anyone gave them credit for (though what happens after your decision still makes little sense, even with this theory). True or not, Bioware can now run with this idea and if need be, pretend it was their intention all along even if it wasn’t. There’s enough evidence there where fans would believe them if they really did pull the “it was all a dream” card.
Sadly, I fear this all may be a plot just to sell more DLC, and if true, it’s a terrible creative decision to keep this reveal under wraps. I further discuss my own thoughts on the topic at length here, but right now, I want to hear from you. After watching this video, do you believe the indoctrination theory to be true? Why or why not, and how does this effect what happens next for the series?