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Spoiler Warning S4E30: Next Stop: Cloud City

By Mumbles
on Wednesday Jan 26, 2011
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

In this episode we have one of my favorite hypothetical conversations: What would I do if I were a super villain? We all agree that the smartest thing for a super villain to do is build a giant base that’s difficult to get to with all the bells and whistles of an evil lair. Then you put no one in there but some mooks you don’t mind dying and lots of fun pressure plate traps that will hopefully kill any adventurer dumb enough to go in there. Meanwhile, you live your life in some modest flat with some hidden security measures just in case your nemesis survives the death castle.

But, what kind of moron would sign up to be a mook for a super villain? In Batman: Arkham Asylum, you can lurk just overhead goons and listen to their tea time chat. Most of them end up talking about how they happily killed their sister for money and suddenly it makes perfect sense why they’d work for a homicidal maniac like the Joker. They’re insane.

They’d have to be so crazy that they’d believe Batman won’t break every bone in their soft little bodies. And, that’s really the problem with all mooks in every video game, comic book and movie. No one is stupid enough to think that they can personally take down someone who calls himself the Goddamned B…wait what were we talking about again?

Oh yeah. Mass Effect 2.

Comments (141)

  1. Piflik says:

    How ’bout a Spoiler Warning of Evil Genius? ;)

  2. Bodyless says:

    btw, private Video is private…

    At least Batman is just a human after all. not some alien or mutant kind of super hero.

    Anyway, living in a flat might be a great camoflage, but no super villian with an ego would be satified with one. And what do you do with your neighbours?

  3. Skan says:

    While you were laughing about the Shadow Jenkins you missed Shep reminiscing about the simplicity of Omni-gel. Always liked those little nods to the things they took out.

  4. Kanodin says:

    Oh now I can’t wait to see the three of you and your first reaction to who the ShadowBroker is.

    • Integer Man says:

      Plot twist ideas:

      – The Council is the broker
      – Shepherd never died and is the broker, you’re just a clone with some false memories.
      – Joker is the broker
      – The Reapers, though gigantic themselves, use an even bigger space ship to get around and THAT ship is the shadow broker.
      – Elvis Presley / Ronald Regan / JFK is the shadow broker. No explanation given.
      – A large computer named President Eden is… never mind, that’d just be crazy.

      • Jameson says:

        The T’Soni form is dead…insect.

        • Sydney says:

          Gotta admit, the first time I got to the point where EDI takes over the Normandy, I felt the tiniest bit jumpy the first time I used the elevator. Y’know. Just in case it served her alone.

      • Kale says:

        That would be cool. Say someone other than Cerberus was also really interested in you and got bits of leftover body before, or maybe after depending on how much Cerberus found, them. These people were less scrupulous about bringing you back with all knowledge, freedom, and integrity intact but the basic procedure for bringing you back was the same. So now we have to wonder about our own nature with regard to how original we are and if others are around.

        In the interest of mixing the two, let’s say the Broker got wind of Cerberus’ plans for you and brought “you” back too. After, or maybe somewhat before, you get released to your devices by Cerberus, the other “you” gets loosed to get information only available to someone of your ranking and reputation or sabotage other investigations into the Broker. That could be another reason all these people recognize and expect you even though you’ve been dead so long. More Shepards wandering around mean more sightings and more rumors. Plus, they could have the Shadow Broker something of a Dread Pirate Roberts, being continuously replaced after the old ones get tired of espionage and retire. Maybe when the one you deal with in ME1 starts planning, he/she considers this an opportunity to retire without completely turning over the reigns of control if they install some mental ..tuners in “you” and let “you” become the new Broker.

      • Sara Pickell says:

        Best Shadow Broker identity ever… Conrad Verner.

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    In profiler and dexter you have the serial killer do exactly that:They find some idiot to impersonate them while they go on with their deeds.Though they arent really super villains.

    Oh,and wasnt shadow broker someone who never deals with someone face to face?Then why is he keeping all these mooks right next to him?

  6. Nyctef says:

    You’re thinking of Mycroft Holmes.

    edit: and you missed the omnigel joke :(

  7. eri says:

    I actually love the design of that ship. Beautiful artwork and somehow they make a ship inside a crazy space lightning storm actually seem plausible. I think it’s a pretty fitting location for an evil villain (though the Shadow Broker isn’t really evil and your reasons for wanting to kill him are rather tenuous).

    • RTBones says:

      Having not played this DLC, I dont know what the interior is going to look like. But I can tell you that from the outside, I am reminded of an old move: The Black Hole

    • Hush says:

      I agree, the level design is epic, even if I don’t think it’s apropos for the Shadow Broker. Like Ruts(I think it was Ruts, anyway) said, I always imagined the Shadow Broker being rather like an unassuming albeit intelligent corporate drone: bit ugly, socially awkward and real obsessed with his work, but not an egomaniac trying to compensate with a large base that screams “evil overlord”, and definitely not a guy who would surround himself with people who know his true identity and could pick him out of a line-up.

      On the other hand, I could totally see the Illusive Man living in a evil lair like this one. This’d make a tight final level vs. Cerberus.

    • Blanko2 says:

      of COURSE he’s evil, his name is the SHADOW BROKER. its like being called DARTH VADER or SKETCHY MCDARKSIDE. or maybe even illusive man.

  8. Hitch says:

    You know what’s more illogical than the Shadow Broker hiring 300 mooks to stand around on the outside of his huge secret airship base? The hero showing up to infiltrate the base and landing on the opposite side of all those mooks from the entrance. Just land next to the door and go inside before they realize you’re there. Don’t run the whole length of the top of the ship and aggro as many guards as possible.

    Oh, and don’t bother trying to give me any explanation for why this was necessary. It’s already tedious and boring enough. The game and this scenario, that is. It does however make wonderful fodder for Spoiler Warning.

  9. Zagzag says:

    Your point about the employess knowing the location of the “top secret base” is very true, yet the kind of thing that I never notice in games like this. You’re just used to the idea that all secret bases are defended by guards, regardless of how stupid that actually is!

  10. Integer Man says:

    Mumbles, the heart palpitations tell you that you’re doing it right.

    • RTBones says:


      But it does beg the question – at what hour of the o’clock are the episodes recorded? What sort of event would require that quantity of ‘Dew? Gaming for three days straight? Is it late at night, so the ‘Dew is required to stay awake? Is it oh-dark-early, so Mumbles hasn’t slept yet because the bars just closed and she’s just sleepy-tired? I mean, geographically, the cast is spread over at least three time zones, so anything is technically possible.

      Maybe there is some hole or fold in the space-time continuum that allows everybody to get together “at the same time”.

  11. X2-Eliah says:

    Given all the Batman love, you ought to do Batman – Arkham Asylum next (plenty of cutscenes, and the sequel’s coming out too).

    Also, wow, this episode sure was eventful! You almost crossed the ship’s exterior!

  12. Galad says:

    gee, Josh, you really went out with a bang around the 10th minute.

    *tries to fit in the word ‘exploded’ here*

  13. Deadpool says:

    Btw, they DO kind of hint as to why the Shadow Broker has so many mooks runnign around the place.

    And I think the excuse for the base is that he needs a place to hide where all those communications are going and coming from, and the storms do it or some such. Doesn’t make much sense, but there it is…

  14. Sydney says:

    By the way, can I ask:

    Since Shepard dies anyway, why didn’t they just leave her dead at the end of ME1 when the Sovereign-giblets flew into the Citadel Tower? That would have been dramatic and interesting. Then they could have started ME2 with the Lazarus Project scenes.

    That would sort out a lot of the “how did the body survive atmospheric re-entry”, plus there wouldn’t have been that triple fake-out. “Oh no, she’s dead WAIT she was alive, just hiding over there to freak out Wrex and Garrus HAHA LOL now she’s dead again WHOOP she’s back to life now”. Her status flits back and forth so much over the last 15 minutes of ME1 and the first 15 minutes of ME2 that she’s probably an Uncertainty Lich by now.

    • Galad says:

      I’d imagine there’d be an outrage of the Gears of Halo fans and a collective “dis geim sux” reaction. Which, sadly, is bad for business for Bioware,

      • Sydney says:

        Yeah, but you know the first line of the first ME2 trailer would be Miranda saying “Commander Shepard has been retrieved”. Which would’ve been better than the actual trailer.

        • Desgardes says:

          Holy shit! That woulda piqued a hundred times the interest if that happened. They wouldn’t even need to do anything other than that, they could jump right into fighting the collectors and what have you, then it could end with Shepard getting a dramatic pan up. They’d have had a riot. The good kind, without all the batons to the head.

          • Sleeping Dragon says:

            I am not 100% confident that they even thought about how they’re going to “reset” Shepard between parts 1 and 2 when they were finishing part 1. Because you obviously needed resetting (I am betting between parts 2 and 3 the council will mark you rogue and you will suffer incarceration or something to that effect). If ot was already planned I’d say they could have easily made some hints that this was not over. Have a funeral or something and some shady characters mentioning “Project Lazarus” or some such thing, this would have rung enough of a bell with most people brought up in western culture and it’s not like it’s some great secret that stays hidden for most of ME2

            I always found that ending scene a little bit… tacky? It would made a bit of sense if ME1 was like ME2 and your character could die in the ending sequence depending on how you worked out stuff along the way but as it was it just range false for me. It was obvious that Shepard was alive and the scene “Shepard triumphant” didn’t really serve any purpose in my eyes.

            • Sydney says:

              If they’d left out the “Where’s the Commander?” part, I’d have no problem with how they did it. But why pretend she’s dead? That doesn’t even make sense without OoC knowledge. She didn’t tell her squadmates she was alive, or check to see if they’d survived? They didn’t call out to see if she survived? All three of them were just…brooding in silence, staying perfectly still and not trying to escape or find each other?

              My sugggestion isn’t even really about adding drama, just about removing the stupidity of the repeated back-and-forth antics.

      • John Magnum says:

        Instead, there’s an outrage from you guys and a collective “dis plot sux” reaction. Which, happily, doesn’t appear to affect them at all.

    • Veloxyll says:

      I thought at the time that Shepard should’ve died at the Citadel. Then they could’ve had Lazerus, or some sort of James Bond-esque “We’re going to CALL you Shepard, and you will be the Alliance’s undying hero.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      This is the same thing that bugged me as well.The one game that was planned to be a trilogy doesnt end with a plot hook because….errr,bioware was unsure itd sell well?

  15. KnightLight says:

    All that talk about the Shadow Broker being a middle-aged office worker makes me think about Alan Parker from Alpha Protocol.

  16. Sydney says:

    I, for one, liked what they did with the Broker. I spent the whole mission figuring it would be someone I knew. I suspected it would be The Illusive Man, actually. So the reveal shocked me in that it wasn’t what I had counted on. Instead of “Who’s it gonna be, who’s it gonna be…ah, it’s [whoever]”, I was thinking “Who’s it gonna be, who’s it gonna be…what the hell is THAT thing?!”

    Worked very well.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      I guess the problem I have with that is that while it is realistic (why should it be that every single important person in the universe is somehow connected to you?) it just wasn’t dramatic enough. Especially considering that the fight with the Broker is your typical boss fight, perhaps even a “dumb boss” fight. I mean, this is the guy to whom the entire galaxy comes begging for information, the guys who knows every dirty little secret… and when we finally face him he’s like “groaaaarrrr! berserk! chaaaarrrrge! grrrroaaar!”. I want a villain of this calibre to be smart.

      • Sydney says:

        I thought that made sense in-universe, but didn’t out-of-universe.

        In Mass Effect, there’s this whole theme of “other species don’t work the way we expect”. The asari bring this up a lot; they don’t think of dancing as menial labour or beneath their dignity, for example. So who’s to say Yahg *blankspace so nobody goes “Wait, that’s a shorter red block than any species name we’ve encountered yet”* aren’t intelligent when calm, but berserk when angry? I’m thinking of the character Berserker from 8-Bit Theatre.

        Out-of-universe, some writer at BioWare probably ran out of ideas.

      • Irridium says:

        What pissed me off about the Shadow Broker was instead of giving us a scene that could have been as heavy as Sovereign/Vigil, they give us RAWR! I PUNCH SPACE OGRE!!

    • Blanko2 says:

      well if it were someone you knew you’d get the assassins creed effect where EVERYONE who was ever important ever is central to the main character and that just kills it for me.
      other people might like it though

      • Piflik says:

        I actually liked seeing all these historical persons and incidents in the Assassins/Templars context…while I am not a fan of conspiracy theories in real life, they do make for interesting plots, if well written…

  17. Rayen says:

    I always end up wondering, after movie and video games and such, What was teh mortality rate of the henchmen? And more to the point, where did they keep finding so many people? they can’t all be pychotic serial killers that would mean crazies outnuber normals ten to one. You know if we want to take down supervillians we don’t need to punch them in the face or lock them up or even really kill them, we need to serve eviction notices to the large and killer Employment and HR department these guys have.

  18. Jarenth says:

    Regarding Josh’s Charging mishaps: I’m convinced this is the episode wherein the game just throws up its hands, sighs and goes “Okay then, fuck it. You want to play a game where you just run around and ignore all my cover? You got it.

    Regarding Mumbles’ Employee DoubleCross Plan: That plan could work if the hero in question wasn’t Regina ‘Charge First, Ask Questions *Paragon Interrupt* Haha Psych, More Charge’ Shepard. How would you even know some of those generic guards weren’t going to surrender? Josh charged and shot them all dead on sight.

    • Jarenth says:

      It appears as though magic Internet pixies broke into my comment and changed the words ‘Renegade Interrupt’, which was clearly what I wrote, into ‘Paragon Interrupt’. I have no idea what possessed these pixies to do so, but I assume they all thought it was really funny or something.

      • Alexander The 1st says:

        I liked it, actually.

        Especially most of the time you get Paragon Interrupts that are a little long if you want to play Renegade, from what I can tell. Never play Renegade.

        Then again, haven’t played Vanguard at all, and it looks like the best class in the game. Engineer was too…campy to really enjoy. “Oh, look, cover and some enemies! Maximized Combat Drone!” *Hide behind cover for 30 seconds. “Maxiumized Combat Drone!”

        Vanguard almost seems like the Renegade class for this game; you can either choose to be a Paragon cover-based-shooter player, and play the game within it’s defined rules, or you can “********** the rules, I have Biotic Charge!”

        It reminds me of ME1, when everyone I knew was disgusted at the fact that I just spammed the pistol in fights.

        “Use the Shotgun! Use the Machine Gun! Don’t just use the Pistol against the Colussus!”

        “Nah, the pistols the best weapon in the game anyways.”

        Which it was, really. Give it a highest Heat Sink or two, and Phasing Rounds, and you wouldn’t need anything else. In fact, with two Heat Sinks, you pretty much didn’t need to wait for overloading at all. Your rate of fire never was high enough.

        • Simon Buchan says:

          I’m playing Eng. on Hardcore[1] and am having *very* little trouble. Of course, that’s because I’m abusing the fact the droned enemy ignores you until it dies with the short cooldown, combined with using Dominate as the New Game+ skill :) (Give it a try, it’s the only real reason to get Morinth)

          [1] I’m not so hot on Insane on the early game without the upgrades and skills, hoping to do a run some time.

  19. Kristin says:

    At this point, I was pretty well convinced that Feron (the guy we’re rescuing) WAS the Shadow Broker and we’d have to deal with Liara dealing with being betrayed.

  20. Blanko2 says:

    the shadow broker is actually bobby kotick and the real reason liara wants him dead is he’s chargin’ her for stupid DLC and cutscenes.

    wait this isn’t topical anymore!
    it was when shadow broker came out, though

  21. Lalaland says:

    There is just too much combat in this DLC the fight with the Asari Spectre, armies of mooks and then the final boss fight it’s just too much. I was a sniper character and the fight around the slowly unlocking door was pure torture. I liked the car chase as it emphasised the size of the city for once and made Illium fell like more than airport lounge. Much better to make the walk outside the Shadow Broker’s ship an environmental challenge for at least a change of pace. The pay off for it all is really the ‘intel’ you get on your crew, it’s probably the best thing about the whole DLC.

  22. Piflik says:

    When I saw that strange moving mechanism inside the ship, I immediately had a flashback of Galaxy Quest…the part where The Tool Man and his sidekick had to crawl through ventilation shafts full of stomping mechanisms to reach some thingummy…(oh how I love the English language sometimes…why can’t we have words like that…or thingumabob…doohickey…the best we have is Dingsbums)

  23. Zaxares says:

    Warp vs Singularity: Oh, HELL NO! Singularity is TONS better than Warp. It is unquestionably THE best crowd control ability in ME2. :P Warp is only useful if you want to set off Warp Bombs, and on anything Veteran difficulty or less, it’s not worth your time setting up Warp Bombs because most enemies die too fast to ordinary gunfire anyway.

    On the guards on the Shadow Broker base/ship/whatever: It’s possible that the Shadow Broker normally only keeps a skeleton crew of mechs and maybe a handful of trusted assistants on his ship, but following the events on Illium, he knew that Shepard and Liara would be coming for him, and so he hastily brought in guards from other bases and outposts. (Although that then begs the question of why he didn’t just FLY his base to somewhere else and let Liara and Shepard search Hagalaz futilely for a ship that isn’t there anymore.)

    Long range fights with a Vanguard: I actually had some trouble with this fight as an Infiltrator myself, despite the presence of my (awesome) Widow sniper rifle. The drones fire abnormally quickly and so every time I popped out of cover to take a shot, in the time it took for me to sight and get off a shot, I’d end up getting pummeled by at least one rocket. I eventually just settled for staying down in cover and having my squadmates use their powers on them instead.

    Also, I’ve played this DLC, so I’ve met the Shadow Broker, but I’m keeping quiet for now so as not to spoil the surprise for people who haven’t. ;)

    • John Magnum says:

      Warp is better than Singularity on higher difficulties because Warp strips armor and barriers. Singularity is only worthwhile if you somehow have a large group of enemies, all of whom have no defenses left. Warp is good against all the BAZILLIONS of enemies that have armor and barriers.

  24. Aldowyn says:

    Wow, I can control minds!

    First, I was like “Switch to your pistol, Josh!” and he did, and then, when he complained at Tali for using your shotgun, I thought “You just were!”, and then Ruts said that. Awesome :D

    Also, points for Rutskarn for the “Ballad of Clay Carmine” reference! (“Boy get your head down…”)I feel like he’s done it before, but still… love that song. (Go check it, and “Gordon Freeman Saved My Life”, out on Youtube.)

  25. Flak says:

    I orginally thought Vigil was the Shadow Broker, shows what I know.

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