Castle Couch – The Picture of Big Boss (spoilers)

Castle Couch – The Picture of Big Boss (spoilers)


Metal Gear Solid 5 has been out for awhile;
now that the dust has settled, it’s time to discuss Big Boss’ arc. Metal Gear Solid
3’s literary lineage was fairly clear: an homage to James Bond and the spy thrillers
of the 1970s. Metal Gear Solid 5’s influences, on the other hand, are harder to parse. I’m
going to argue that The Phantom Pain’s literary contemporary is The Picture of Dorian Gray,
by Oscar Wilde. Dorian Gray is about a beautiful man whose
good looks lead him down a path of indulgence. Early on, he has his portrait painted by a
friend, which we quickly learn ages in his place. Dorian hides the painting in his attic,
but his life heads in a downward spiral all the same. As Gray’s life decays, so too
does the painting; with every missteps the man makes, the painting transforms to reflect
his inner demons. The novel ends with Dorian trying to absolve his sins by destroying the
painting. The twist is that Dorian’s body is found old and shriveled, while the painting
has once again changed to show a beautiful young man. Unlike the novel, almost everyone in Metal
Gear Solid 5 is in on the secret except the player. The game has a mechanic where your
horn grows the more you kill (the portrait becoming more deformed, the more evil you
become.) We are Big Boss. Our face full of scars, a missing arm, and a voice that isn’t
even our own. Skull Face may be a flimsy character, but his appearance is a symbolic one: he is
Snake in a 100% pure evil manifestation. Both characters are immortal but at varying stages
of becoming disconnected from their humanity. You can argue Quiet is the other side of the
spectrum: she starts off trying to murder Snake, but ultimately becomes his saviour.
In the end, it is Big Boss (a snake bite) that gets rid of her forever. In gothic literature, there’s a point of
no return; a moment of reckoning where someone makes a choice they can’t come back from.
In Sardonicus, it’s when he defiles his father’s grave for wealth. In Frankenstein,
it’s when Victor abandons his creation. For Skull Face, it’s when he rapes and tortures
at Camp Omega (you know that old song and dance, sigh). But what is it for Big Boss?
Is it when he makes his own army, profiting on the lives of others? Coerces others to
kill for him? When he didn’t shake that guy’s hand at the end of 3!? Of course not,
the moment of no return for Big Boss was when he was forced to murder the most important
person in his world in Metal Gear Solid 3. In Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain we’re
already evil. We’re evil at the end of Snake Eater, and we’re evil in Ground Zeroes.
And if Snake is already a villain, then Metal Gear Solid 5 a paradox; a story about his
descent that’s already reached a pinnacle. There is no arc; in The Phantom Pain Snake
stays the same. At the very end of the game, when the curtain has been lifted, we’re
given a close-up of Big Boss’s face. No scars, or scratches. No horns. He appears
just as he did at the end of Snake Eater. Like the picture of Dorian Gray, we’re confronted
with our mirror image, and it looks nothing like us. Big Boss then literally blows smoke
in our face, before we shatter our reflection and turn to face the end.

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  1. SPOILER ALERT!

    Well in The Phantom Pain you don't actually play as Big Boss aka Naked Snake, after the helicopter accident in Ground Zeroes, Big Boss and the Medic we're both in coma for 9 years, in the "Truth" ending in The Phantom Pain you will see flashback from the hospital after the recovered them from the heli crash, Kaz is right next to Bgi Boss and when he fell in coma, Kaz asked "what about him?" reffering to the medic, and the doctor said "he took some shrapnel to the head", then they made a facial surgery to the medic to look like Big Boss and they implanted his memories (that is actually real in real life) and now the Medic from Ground Zeroes thinks he is Big Boss and the real Big Boss is hiding somewhere in the world, while the fake Big Boss aka Punished "Venom" Snake is doing all the job for him and he is becoming evil, not Naked Snake, in Metal Gear 2 on the MSX2 Solid Snake actually killed Venom Snake, not Naked Snake, also in The Phantom Pain they did blood and DNA test on Venom Snake and Eli to see if he is his son, but unfortunately no, Eli (which is Liquid Snake) and Solid Snake are twins and sons (clones) of Naked Snake, Solid Snake was also blonde but changed his hair color because he didn't want to be like his evil brother.

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