ORIGINALLY POSTED ON MY TUMBLR, JUNE 2015
Reposted without edits, save navigational issues.
Partner piece to Contact Harvest review and analysis.
You know what? This is not going to be the usual analytical Arbiter Watch. This is just me exploding into feels about Johnson and Thel.
JOHNSON. FOR THE LOVE OF PETE, JOHNSON.
IT MUST HAVE BEEN GOING THROUGH HIS HEAD AS THEL CHARGED THE JIRALHANAE THAT WERE KEEPING HIM AND THE MARINES CAPTIVE.
IT MUST HAVE BEEN GOING THROUGH HIS HEAD WHEN HE WAITED FOR THEL TO CONFIRM THE TRUTH ABOUT THE HALO RINGS.
IT MUST HAVE BEEN GOING THROUGH HIS HEAD WHEN HE LOOKED AT THEL WITH ALL THAT SYMPATHY.
YES. THAT SHOT. RIGHT THERE. OH HEAVENS ABOVE.
What exactly, you may ask the sobbing woman in the corner, was going through Johnson’s head?
“Make me proud, do what’s right. This had been his Aunt’s instruction on the day of his enlistment, her small but strong fingers reach up to cup his nineteen-year-old chin. Become the man I know you can be.
And Avery had tried. He’s left Earth ready to fight for her and those like her – innocents whose lives the UNSC had convinced him were threated by men inimical but otherwise identical to him. Killers. Innies. The enemy. But where was the pride? And what had he become?
‘I’m sorry,’ Avery croaked, wishing he aunt were alive to hear it.
Then his mind collapse under the multiplicative weight of loss and guilt and rage.” (Harvest, pp 45).
The opening of Contact Harvest has Johnson questioning where he lies in this war, questioning all the death he caused and all the civilians caught in the crossfire between the Insurrection and the UNSC. His Aunt’s final words to him ring in his ears consistently.
Even though he saw the beginning of the Human-Covenant, he never got to see the end of the war waged within humanity. And he would only go on to see more and more innocents die because of another war caused by conflicting ideologies.
So what if the words “Make me proud, do what’s right,” are whispering in his ears as he stares down the Scarab canon he has aimed at the Sangheili who captured both himself and Commander Keyes? A killer. A Covie. The enemy. He could end this high-priority target right there, or he could give him a second chance. “Do what’s right,” he thinks, and gives the Sangheili a second chance.
And as Thel confronts Tartarus, Johnson holds off on firing at the Chieftain because he realizes that just as he had been convinced that the Innies were all monsters, Thel must have been convinced that the humans were too by the Covenant leaders. He realizes that Thel needed closure, clarification, just like he did.
And as the enormity of the War and all the lies crashes down on Thel, I am certain that Johnson looks and sees himself in the Sangheili.
AND THEN WE SEE THEL OFFER THE EXACT SAME HAND OF PEACE, THE SAME NEW START TO TARTARUS THAT JOHNSON OFFERED TO HIM.
IT’S LIKE THEL’S PURSUIT OF PEACE STARTED WITH JOHNSON GIVING HIM A SECOND CHANCE.
AND I SWEAR IT’S ALL BECAUSE JOHNSON WANTED TO MAKE HIS AUNT PROUD.
JOHNSON GAVE THEL A SECOND CHANCE WHICH IN TURN SAVED THE GALAXY AND GAVE IT ITS BEST CHANCE FOR PEACE. HE BECAME THE MAN HIS AUNT KNEW HE COULD BE.