Tuesday, November 18, 2014

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 18: Best Protagonist (NPC)

"You can stay here and let old wounds fester as krogan have always done. Or you can fight the enemy you were born to destroy, and win a new future for our children. I choose to fight. Who will join me?"
Urdnot Bakara/"Eve" from Mass Effect 3
Via Mass Effect Wiki
As you found out on Day 11, the krogan beat all the currently-known species of the Mass Effect universe for the ever-so-coveted spot as my favorite, so it makes sense that Urdnot Bakara/Eve takes the top award for Best NPC Progagonist. (Now, it's not necessarily because she's a krogan that she wins, but it didn't hurt her chances, either.)

In comparison to the other krogan that I'd met up to that point - Wrex, Grunt, Okeer, Uvenk, the shaman, etc. - she is refreshingly calm and focused, even while chaos rains around her. She understands that she, as a fertile female who is immune to the genophage, is a target for those who wish to either stop the krogan-turian alliance from forming or keep the cure from happening (or both, for that matter), but it only steels her resolve to be the savior for her kind. She's also wickedly intelligent, as shown by her intuitive plan to summon Kalros to the Reaper attacking her planet, which brings us this scene:

Kalros v. Reaper: There Can Only Be One

But what truly made her different was her simple hope. She sees the destruction - both self-caused and otherwise - that surrounds her people, as well as their complacency masked by bravado and wild aggression, and yet she can still believe that the future for her people can be bright, should they choose to follow a better path. Her initiation into shamanhood - where she was trapped in a cave with only enough food to last a week - was brutal, as it is her people's way, but she persevered and, utilizing a crystal she'd found, emerged victorious ... and enlightened. Her attitude actually mirrors my opinion on my own species, which for especially the past few months has shown a complete lack of humanity in its treatment of each other and our planet. But, as Bakara says, "In the darkest hour, there is always a way out;" we just have to figure out how to use that crystal to dig ourselves out of that metaphorical cave. While I don't believe that the females of any species should be the stabilizing pillars of society, Bakara's strength in responsible leadership, paired with Wrex's unconventional ideas, will ensure that the krogan will continue after the Reapers are defeated.

On a less serious note - although no less poignant - her scenes with Mordin are some of my favorites. I mean, he sings to her, guys.

"The Krogan Queen"

Their relationship is a very tender one, where he cares for her safety beyond that of scientific or medical necessity. Mordin's personal journey through ME2 and ME3 was about his desire for redemption from his guilt of modifying the genophage, and Bakara is a living example of the lengths to which krogan might go because of his work. He teases her with a proposal to engage Garrus as a romantic partner, a suggestion she downright refuses, and she, despite his complicity in the suffering of her people, trusts him completely. It is in the scenes between them that really show the potential for galactic peace. Even Bakara says that she "should consider him [her] enemy," but cannot because she realizes the "humanity" in him, that he is not just an unfeeling, scientific salarian. 

In essence, Bakara's badassness is a testament to a true krogan: she can physically fight - she kills two Cerberus operatives with a shotgun and then jams the gun into Wrex's hands - but her true power lies in her personality and convictions. She owns the room when she scolds the bickering males and ultimately assists in the emancipation of her planet from the Reapers (if, of course, Shepard has enough war assets) by using both brain and (the thresher maw's) brawn. She is truly a terrifying character, indeed, but one who would rather live in peace and quiet, united with all of her people. Wrex is a lucky, lucky man.

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