The story so far: Sebastian Castellanos

(Character bios and analysis)

The story so far: Sebastian Castellanos

Postby Autoignition » Jun 17, 2017 6:00 pm

With the sequel closing in on us in four short months, and with the individual character threads being largely concerned with TEW1's pre-release and speculation, I've decided to start something new here with a refresher on the characters confirmed for the sequel that are returning from TEW1. Logically, I decided to start with Sebastian, in case anyone needs a quick (well, "quick") reminder of what his history and background is going into the new game. I tried to inject some humor throughout, because I know that this wall of text is going to be daunting. The silver lining here is that this story re-telling will probably the longest one out of all of the returning characters. It kind of comes part and parcel with Sebastian being the protagonist.

A bit of a disclaimer before we start. I have two degrees in criminal justice, and I worked several years in law enforcement. When you see me talking about police procedure and stuff like that, know that it comes from a place of semi-expertise, and I'm not just pulling bullshit out of my ass.


    • In TEW1, Sebastian was 38 years old. This will make him 41 at the start of TEW2.

Fans have speculated, based on a brief shot of his STEM terminal, that his birthday may be June 13 (which, if true, means he just passed the 41 year mark a few days ago. Happy birthday, you depressed sack of shit. I love you). That would also make him a Gemini, in case you wanted to check with the stars about how sexually compatible you are with him or something. (He and I would have awesome sex at first but then get bored with each other after a while, apparently, which I am disinclined to believe, but hokey tarot websites are allowed to have their own opinion.)


    • Sebastian became a detective in November of 2004.
He says in his journals that he rose through the ranks and became a detective through normal means of promotion. This means that he started off his career as a patrolman. He also mentions that he was among the fastest in the precinct's history to rise to the rank of detective. In America's big cities, police departments generally don't accept applications for officers until age 21. If we assume that TEW2 takes place in 2017 and Sebastian joined the force as soon as he turned 21, that means he would've made detective at age 28 -- meaning it only took him 7 years to do it. That's a big deal. A detective under the age of 30 is almost unheard of. (Boy oh boy I can't wait til we get to Joseph's new thread.)

What does this mean about Sebastian as a person? A few things. First off, Sebastian is a writer. You can see it in the way he writes every journal entry in TEW1 (he writes like a writer, if that makes sense. He has a very distinctive style and voice in his journals), but the bottom line is that you don't become a detective if you can't write. Period. Most detective work is just paperwork. It's reports and organizational filing and legal documents. Detectives are basically glorified desk jockeys with guns; they're not first responders and they're rarely the ones to make arrests (notice that Joseph doesn't even carry handcuffs on him).

For Sebastian to be promoted as quickly as he was, that means that all of his reports filed as a patrolman were thorough, meticulous, easy to read, and extremely useful in the courtroom because they never left out details or had many holes. That is what Sebastian got promoted on -- not his arrest record or his quota numbers (I believe they still had quotas back when he was on patrol; I'm pretty sure they only did away with quotas shortly before I started college back in 2007). It was the rate at which his paperwork and testimony got suspects convicted.

It also means that we're dealing with a highly-motivated, extremely passionate individual who pours all of himself into his work at all times. Take that knowledge and compare it to what you've seen in the TEW2 trailers thusfar and what Pete Hines has said about the current state of his life. This really is rock bottom for Sebastian. His badge was his life, and now it's gone, and people think that he's a sad crazy old drunk spinning tales out of his addled, shell-shocked writer's brain. (On some level, I feel personally attacked.)


    • Sebastian's first partner as a detective was a woman named Myra Hanson, who he immediately fell in love with.
I'm talking immediately. This was some classic love at first sight shit. Their first day together involves him not being able to focus on his work because he's staring at her ass. That's not me trying to be funny. That's what he says. I quote: "First day as a detective. [...] She almost caught me checking out her ass today." (And if daddy's into backsides, I got one right here for him, no matter what the tarot websites say... ahem moving on.)


    • Sebastian and Myra got engaged to be married after only four months of knowing each other.
I'm not making that up. They met in December of 2004, and by March of 2005, Sebastian's all giddy about how Myra said yes. Remember how we talked about Sebastian being an extremely passionate individual? Turns out that that passion isn't just for his work. There is a little bit of an explanation here as to how things escalated between them so quickly, though. It's not just Sebastian being a personified walking hard-on (even though he kind of sort of was back then). In February, Myra was shot and in danger of dying, and Sebastian was the one who kept her alive long enough for the paramedics to arrive and take over. Something like that tends to bring people together in a profound way, especially if those two people were already attracted to each other to begin with.


    • Sebastian was forced to switched partners in March of 2005 and was teamed up with a young detective named Joseph Oda.
This was likely done due to the clear ethical quandaries of having two people who were engaged to be married working the same desk together. The good news for Sebastian is that he fell in love with Joseph as immediately as he fell in love with Myra, and it's really adorable and kind of embarrassing. "Joseph is a great detective and we're a good team. Krimson City needs more men like him on the force, and it's an honor to be working with him." Ugh, get a room. Joseph quickly became Sebastian's best friend, and it started all right here in March 2005.


    • Sebastian and Myra were married on September 17, 2005.
    • Lily, their daughter, was born on July 18, 2006.
    • The canon is very inconsistent about Sebastian and Myra's roles as parents -- a point which will likely be expanded on in TEW2.
Let's do some more fun math. Lily was born almost ten months to the day since Seb and Myra's wedding. Assuming that Lily wasn't a premature baby, that means that Sebastian and Myra were barely married for a month by the time Myra got pregnant. Dear lord. Either there was some crazy Christian fundie shit going on on Myra's side of things involving no sex before marriage and no birth control (which I am disinclined to believe seeing as how Lily is an only child, and Captain Testosterone over here can't seem to keep it in his pants), or these two had the happiest accident ever.

At the very least, we know that it was a happy accident on Sebastian's part. He became enamored with the idea of having a little girl before she was even born and fell in love with her before he ever got to see her face. He wrote her a letter while she was still in the womb about how he can't wait to meet her -- and he also kind of pre-emptively apologizes to her on the off-chance that he somehow accidentally ends up fucking her up later in life. Like most parents do.

What's super not clear is what Myra's role as a mother was. From the way Sebastian talks about her in his journals, he makes it sound like she was mother of the year all years. However, there's a flashback in The Consequence where Sebastian bitches to Joseph about how his wife's never around to help out with the baby, and Joseph responds by saying that she's just extremely dedicated to her work.

Let's be very clear about this: Sebastian is a highly unreliable narrator. He's stubborn and set in his ways, and he views the world the way that he wants to view it. We'll get more into this later, because at this point in the story it's not a huge part of his character yet, but when having to choose whether to believe Sebastian's journals or The Consequence flashbacks, I believe the flashbacks over him every time. It's nothing personal, Seb.

So, in all likelihood, Myra was kind of an absent mother. Sebastian and Myra frequently fell back on use of a nanny -- an older woman by the name of Juanita Flores. This will probably come up in the sequel, so it's an important thing to note.


    • Sebastian's home caught fire on February 10, 2012, and Lily and her babysitter Juanita were assumed to have been killed.
Notice how I said assumed. TEW2 confirmed that Lily is still alive. No word on the babysitter either way, though. Sebastian and Myra had a burial for Lily, but there's no mention of any bodies ever having been recovered. In all likelihood, they just buried an empty coffin (which happens sometimes, and it's always shitty). The fire was officially deemed an accident by the KCPD, who attributed it to faulty electric wiring in the house. Now, I'm not saying that Juanita was a Mobius plant -- I'm just saying that I can't believe I never suspected her before literally just now when I started writing out this section holy shit Juanita was a Mobius plant (maybe).

What's important to note about this fire is that Sebastian and Myra were both there at the scene as it was happening. This could either be a nothingburger for the sake of drama, or it could be everything. Only time and the sequel will tell. In The Consequence, it's said that -- well, let me just paste the quote directly.

"The data would suggest that brainwave synchronization with Ruvik correlates to specific trauma. In this case, Ruben's own loss of family."

This is given as an explanation as to why Leslie is special when it comes to navigating and surviving STEM. His family was murdered in front of him. The Administrator then goes on to say that Mobius needs "something else at the core" other than Leslie, because Leslie's mental state is too far gone for most people to be able to relate to him -- implying that it would have to be someone who was still fairly stable and normal but also shared that trauma with Ruvik and could act as a host. Anyone coming to mind? The Castellanos family, perhaps? Lily's now the one at the core, and Sebastian survived STEM well enough to go back in for round two...

Moving on.


    • In the months following their daughter's death, Sebastian and Myra's marriage fell apart.
    • Sebastian self-medicated with alcohol; Myra threw herself deeper into her work.
    • On July 11, 2012, Myra confided in Sebastian that she firmly believed that Lily's death was not an accident.
There's a lot happening here, even though it may not seem that way. Most of it is going to have to wait until we get Myra's character reveal in the sequel and she gets her own thread, though. Remember: The KCPD ruled the fire to be an accident. But then after six months of obsessive work and almost no sleep in order to cope with her grief, Myra drops the bombshell on Sebastian that the KCPD is full of shit and that she thinks their daughter was murdered.

This fucks with Sebastian's life perspective and his mental state a lot. Like, a lot. Happy-go-lucky Sebastian the Sperminator, who falls in love with everyone he meets and just wants to do A Good Job™ (and maybe anal if you're up for it), dies in this moment. He was already starting to become a bit of a pariah around the precinct due to his drinking, but a lot of people gave him a pass because they knew he was grieving. This was the moment where the paranoia started to sink in and everything began to unravel. Already, he kind of alludes to the idea that he's willing to commit murder over this.

For someone who's as much of a straight-laced boy scout as Sebastian was leading up to his daughter's death, that's a big fucking deal. This was the big turning point for Sebastian's character; it's the genesis of the version of him that we see in TEW1. You know, A Huge Fucking Asshole™.


    • In August of 2012, Sebastian and Joseph were assigned to train a new rookie detective named Juli Kidman.
Juli. Not Julie. Stop that shit. Anyway, so, Sebastian is immediately suspicious of everything that Kidman is. Like, immediately, just -- Fuck you, Kidman. He doesn't trust her, he doesn't like her, and he's pissed the hell off that he's stuck on babysitting duty when he has enough of his own personal crap to deal with. Seems a far cry from his reactions to his first two partners, doesn't it?

So, Joseph called him out on being the big old paranoid tittybaby that he is, and Sebastian's kneejerk response was, "Oh, Joseph just must want to fuck her, that's why he's saying that shit." I can't even make this shit up. He legit said, "I think he might have a crush on her or something." It's so petty and it's so juvenile that I almost would not be able to believe that it came out of the mouth of a 36 year old (at the time) man, if only I wasn't very very close friends with other 36 year old men and could honestly believe it. Keep in mind that Sebastian and Joseph have been partners for like seven years at this point and are best friends. Sebastian turned his back on everyone during this stage of his life, including the people he really shouldn't have (aka Joseph).

But I can't even be mad at Sebastian for this, because in the end, he was 100% right about Kidman. He seriously could not have been more correct; he never should have trusted her, and he should've probably kept an even closer eye on her than he already did. More on that in Kidman's thread.


    • In late August of 2012, Myra went missing.
Myra took her car, her laptop, and a few other things, and just disappeared into the ether. The police found no signs of foul play, and when Sebastian tried to insist otherwise, they told him to stop being a crazy asshole because the likeliest scenario from their point of view is that she just left him because he's an emotionally unhinged drunk at this point.

Cue a complete and total mental breakdown on Sebastian's part. It's ugly. At one point, Joseph had to actually drag him out of their captain's office because Sebastian was spouting off what were probably nutso Illuminati-esque conspiracy theories. Joseph even calls them conspiracy theories. By this point, Joseph is very clearly walking on eggshells around Sebastian, and he chooses his words carefully. Sebastian accuses him of hiding shit from him with absolutely no basis behind it, and all Joseph can do is helplessly plead, "I'm not, Sebastian, I'm trying to help. I want to help. But you need to think about this carefully." Joseph is the only rational, sane voice left in Sebastian's life. And that doesn't last for very much longer.


    • Presumably around late November/early December 2012, Sebastian received a package from Myra in the mail with an apology letter for her disappearance and all of her case notes from her personal investigation surrounding the fire that took Lily's life.
    • In late December of 2012, the KCPD finally accepts Myra's disappearance as a bona fide missing persons case.
    • On December 20, 2012, Sebastian made the executive decision to continue Myra's investigation on his own. This investigation continues all the way up until the start of TEW1.
So. There's a lot here. First: We don't know what Myra's files contained. I've speculated in the past that it was all of the newspaper files that you find in TEW1 and maybe some of the memos and the photographs you find scattered randomly throughout STEM, but the truth is that we just don't know.

Second: Big Ol' Paranoid Sebastian does not bring any of this to his superiors on the force, fearing that any one of them could be complicit in the conspiracy in some way.

Third: We don't know how much or how little Joseph was involved in Sebastian's personal investigation before he distanced himself from it, but he does definitely distance himself from it.

With regards to Myra's missing person's case, Sebastian gets all pissy that his SOs won't let him on the case. They tell him it's because he's family (which is probably the truth -- this is just basic police procedure and ethics 101) but because he's become a paranoid conspiracy nut, he just automatically assumes without reason that they consider him a suspect.


    • Around March 2013, Joseph reported Sebastian's personal investigation to Internal Affairs.
Joseph has fucking had it, y'all. And he's right. I think it's important to note that he went to Internal Affairs and not Human Resources. Human Resources is where he would go if he thought that the problem was just Sebastian's drinking or just his paranoia or just that he needed psychiatric help for his grief. But instead, he goes to Internal Affairs. Internal Affairs is where you go when you think that a fellow officer is abusing his power and authority and is engaging in something explicitly illegal. If what you're doing is severe enough, IA has the authority to strip you of your badge. They can even level criminal charges against you.

That is how far gone Joseph thought that Sebastian was in his mental breakdown -- he honestly felt that Sebastian needed to be removed from his position entirely, for his own good. Remember what I said before? Sebastian's badge is his entire life. Joseph is Sebastian's best friend. And in order to save Sebastian from destroying himself, Joseph felt that Sebastian needed to step away from the force. That is huge.

So, what did IA find? Well, they found that he was, "pursuing an unauthorized investigation and using KCPD resources to do so. In addition, there are reports of threats, intimidation, and physical violence." The problem? They're all just reports. Compiled by Joseph, sure, but in this case, words are wind. The KCPD couldn't find any proof to corroborate them whatsoever.

I feel that it's important to really break that quote down, though. Sebastian, the creampuff who fell in love with his first partner the second he saw her, who wrote a letter to his daughter while she was still in the womb, who was such a hard worker who was so dedicated to his job that he rose through the ranks to make detective faster than almost anyone else in the precinct's history -- that guy has been going around threatening and beating the shit out of people while flashing his badge in order to throw his weight around. And he's become so paranoid that he was able to completely hide any evidence that he was doing so.

If you ever found yourself wondering what would happen if you took a genuinely sweet and kindhearted man who was dangerously whip-smart and meticulous in all things, and you just completely broke his spirit... wonder no longer. He'll become what you saw in TEW1. TEW1's core theme concerns mental illness, and that theme plays out in its mentally ill cast. Do not make a mistake for even a second. Sebastian is mentally ill and is suffering from a pretty severe case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He needs help.

But what's really important to take away from this is -- and I'll go into this in a lot more detail in Joseph's thread once we get his character reveal -- that while the IA report completely destroys the friendship between Sebastian and Joseph, they never actually stopped being partners. Both in the literal and figurative sense. Joseph is still the glue holding Sebastian's life together. It's not a coincidence that things don't really shatter irrevocably for him until after Joseph is removed from the picture between TEW1 and TEW2.


    • At some point in Sebastian's personal investigation, Mobius found out what he was doing. The massacre at Beacon at the start of TEW1 was a trap that Mobius laid to pull him into STEM and kill him.
And Joseph, too, because Joseph was, at one point, a participant in Sebastian's trip into crazytown. Again, more on that in his thread later. Now, you may find yourself thinking, "Auto, that's a bunch of stupid bullshit that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Surely there were easier ways to get Seb and Jo to Beacon." Shhhhh. Oh, I'll feed you, baby birds.

There actually weren't. Two detectives going missing or showing up dead at the same time is so suspicious that it's not even goddamn funny. Especially two partners. Especially the husband of the detective who was already missing and his partner. The entirety of the KCPD would be on Beacon and up Mobius's asshole so fast your head would spin. But a scene of mass chaos? With several officers dead and missing? Seb and Jo are just two names on a long list of unfortunate casualties.


    • The moment-to-moment events of STEM don't fucking matter.
    • You heard me.
    • They don't matter.
    • Take two seconds to get over that little detail.
    • Good? Good.
    • Instead, I'm going to list off what Sebastian found out while he was there and what he walked away from TEW1 believing to be true.

Sebastian knows:
• All of Ruvik's backstory (to be expanded on in his thread)
• What STEM is
• Jimenez and Ruvik were working on the STEM system in the basement of Beacon
• Jimenez and Ruvik used Beacon patients as test subjects
• Leslie and Ruvik share a brainwave link
• Ruvik's goal was to steal away Leslie's body
• Kidman has always been working for a third party
• Everyone who is plugged into STEM contributes to the landscape/makeup of STEM in some way
• There was some nefarious shit going on in the church in Elk River, including human sacrifices and experimentation
• The Haunted enemies are people who had been plugged into the STEM system but succumbed to Ruvik's will
• Ruvik was the Elk River serial killer
• Once you're plugged into STEM, there's really no getting out of it. You'll always have one foot inside.
• 99% of the people who get plugged into STEM die from it

Sebastian believes:
• Kidman shot and killed Joseph (this is objectively not true -- well, the latter half, anyway. She did shoot him, but Joseph walked away from TEW1 alive)
• Kidman shot but did not kill him (this is objectively not true; she never shot him)
• Leslie is dead (this may or may not be true but it's unclear what Ruvik implanting his consciousness into Leslie's body actually did to Leslie's own consciousness)
• Myra is still missing without a trace; he may even believe that she was consumed by STEM (this is objectively not true; Myra works for Mobius now, but Sebastian never saw her)
• Ruvik is a huge asshole who does not at all deserve sympathy and nothing that happened to Leslie is Leslie's fault (this is so, so true and I love you every day for refusing to victim-blame, Sebastian)

He also probably knows/believes that Mobius were the ones funding Ruvik/Jimenez/the STEM project in general. He probably also knows/believes that they're the ones who disappeared Myra. But it doesn't sound like he has any proof at all. Sucks, bro.

Phew. Okay. I think that's everything. Thoughts/questions/comments all go down in the thread below. Let me know if I missed anything. I've been working on this shit for like four hours, though, so I need a break. Next backstory thread will be Kidman's.
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Re: The story so far: Sebastian Castellanos

Postby Rikitatsu » Jun 17, 2017 8:38 pm

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Tremendous write-up!
Damn, Seb's gonna be 41 in TEW2? That's kinda old...

I also wonder if Sebastian and Joseph's friendship were all that damaged after the IA report, Sebastian cares a lot about Joseph as we see in the events of the first game... Even en-route to beacon he was asking for his opinion. I didn't sense any animosity, they seem like besties still.
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Re: The story so far: Sebastian Castellanos

Postby Autoignition » Jun 17, 2017 9:22 pm

Well, like I said, they never stopped being partners. But there are two very specific scenes that showcase how dead their outside-of-work friendship is.

In chapter 6:

Joseph: "You know I didn't report you because I was worried about your work, Sebastian."
Sebastian: "What else is there?"

Sebastian's saying without saying that the friendship between them is dead. He can't see why Joseph would want to strip him of the one thing that still gives his life some value, because that's not something a friend would do (in his eyes). He follows up the question by saying, "We don't have time for this. I need my partner here. I'm counting on you." Again, it reaffirms that the relationship between them is strictly work-related now. Joseph wasn't the friend that Sebastian wanted/needed when he was going through his breakdown, but he has always been a solid and steadfast partner -- one that Sebastian trusts with his life, even if he no longer trusts him with his heart.

In The Consequence:

Joseph: "I know you say it's personal, and I don't like to talk about it."

Sebastian doesn't trust Joseph with personal things anymore. Notice how Joseph doesn't say that he doesn't want to talk about it -- he doesn't like to talk about it. It makes him uncomfortable, because it ties in with his previous line of, "I want to help." He wants to help, but Sebastian no longer lets him in, and Joseph has now drawn his own line in the sand with regards to what he'll tolerate from Sebastian's conspiracy theories. It's pretty heartbreaking, honestly, because Joseph was forced into a position where he couldn't do anything except stand back and watch his best friend slowly destroy himself.
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Re: The story so far: Sebastian Castellanos

Postby Rikitatsu » Jun 17, 2017 9:43 pm

Yeah, but there are other scenes in the game that shows just how worried Seb is about Joseph's well being... As you've said, Sebastian is an unreliable narrator, so him saying that to Joseph might betray how he really feels about him.

At the start of Ch.14 after Seb fell through the subway, with all the rocks piled on him, the first thing he says is "Joseph... You've got to be alive..." This doesn't sound to me like someone who views him as just a work partner.


By the way, how old is Lily by the time TEW2 takes place? I'm guessing 13 or so based on the time line here?
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Re: The story so far: Sebastian Castellanos

Postby Autoignition » Jun 17, 2017 10:01 pm

Oh, I'm not at all denying that Sebastian still cares for/about Joseph. Sebastian loves that dork. That's what made the betrayal of the IA report hurt so much. I think that what he wanted more than anything else during the fallout of Myra's disappearance was Joseph's support. I think he still wants it, and he shows it in scenes like the chapter 12 one when they're en route to Beacon. But back before the whole STEM thing happened, when Sebastian reached out to him, Joseph didn't take his hand; he backed away instead of indulging what he perceived to be delusions and following him down the Illuminati rabbit hole. And ever since then, Sebastian's closed himself off inside of a shell in fear of getting hurt again. From his perspective, he bore his heart to Joseph, and Joseph turned his back on him.

I've heard this said about marriages, but I feel that the same is true for friendships, too: sometimes love just isn't enough. If two people aren't on the same page and their goals are radically different, sometimes they have to split ways no matter how much they may love each other.

Sebastian and Joseph were on radically different pages after Myra disappeared. Sebastian wanted the truth, and he says flat-out, "I don't care what it costs." Joseph just wanted Sebastian to be okay, and what Sebastian was doing was not at all conducive to any sort of healing process. In the end, what the truth actually ended up costing Sebastian was his ability to open up to Joseph -- it cost him their friendship.

When I look at the situation from Joseph's perspective, I honestly feel like he did the right thing. If my best friend just went through two dramatic losses right in a row, started drinking heavily, and began spouting off Illuminati theories -- and then I found out that he was abusing his power as an officer and physically hurting people to try to get the answers he wanted -- I would be terrified. I don't think I could live with myself if something were to happen to him while I had the power to tell someone and try to stop it. We have to keep in mind that Joseph's report was the final act of a desperate man who just wanted to save his best friend's life. No matter what he said or did, Sebastian adamantly refused to listen to him because he so firmly believed that he was right.

Sebastian needs help. He's needed help for a while. Joseph tried to give him that, but it wasn't what Sebastian wanted or thought he needed, so the relationship between them broke down. And judging from the way they spoke to each other in chapter 6, it sounds like they don't communicate well at all anymore. Neither of them are very good when it comes to expressing their emotions; they both put up walls around themselves the second the conversation starts to hit someplace too sensitive. ("We can't all be perfect" is the worst, most assholish thing a person can say to a perfectionist who literally just tried to kill himself not five minutes prior, goddamn it Sebastian. All because Joseph made him butthurt by calling the fire an "accident.") So, ever since the IA report, it's been nothing but unresolved betrayal and helplessness and hurt feelings, even though the both of them want nothing more than just to be friends again. It's really tragic, and they break my heart, and I hate them both, and I just want them to reunite and go on adventures together in the sequel.

Anyway.

If we assume TEW2 takes place in 2017, then 2017 - 2006 = 11. Lily will be 11 in the sequel.
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Re: The story so far: Sebastian Castellanos

Postby Autoignition » Oct 17, 2017 6:34 pm

So, I've been dunking on TEW2 a lot ever since its release, but it did something very interesting with Sebastian's character that I need to address, because it's important to me.

The game makes this really interesting juxtaposition with Sebastian’s feelings towards what happened between him and Joseph and what happened to Lily.

Sebastian is obsessive over what happened to his family. He always has been, and TEW2 kicks it up to eleven. It’s always at the forefront of his mind, it dictates everything he does. He can’t let go of it, he can’t focus on anything else. It’s an all-consuming drive that he constantly feels.

So, in that sense, the game sets you up to believe that this was the single most devastating thing that has ever happened in his life. And to a certain extent, in some ways, it was. But it wasn’t so intense that it ever felt too out of his control to deal with. Yes, he drank a lot because it hurt a lot to think about, and that pain was distracting when he was busy trying to look for answers and find justice the way that Myra asked him to in her final letter, but he still never once turned away from it. He never went “this is too hard” and gave up.

But with Joseph? The pain was so personal, and the hurt cut so deep that he could not even bear to think of Joseph even as a memory. Tatiana says that Sebastian “refused to confront” it, and Sebastian then confirms to Kidman that he dropped the ball after the first game and didn’t pursue answers about Joseph’s fate. He gives her the excuse that things were “confusing” but Tatiana’s line about his refusal to face this reveals what he actually means by “things were confusing.”

Losing Joseph hurt Sebastian more than losing Lily.

That is what the game tells us.

And that’s actually a very human thing, I feel? With Lily, there must have been some part of Sebastian that was always intellectually aware that there was nothing that he could’ve actually done to save her, even if emotionally he couldn’t bring himself to actually feel that way. His dogged pursuit of Mobius from before the start of the first game and throughout the entire second game was more of just a man trying to take a situation that was wholly out of his hands and wrest some sort of control over it.

With Joseph, though, there are a million things that Sebastian could have done differently. In The Consequence, we see Joseph all but beg Sebastian to come to his senses and at least meet him halfway as far as his crazy conspiracy theories were concerned, but Sebastian adamantly slaps him down and even goes so far as to accuse him of keeping secrets. And even after Joseph reports Sebastian to IA, you see glimpses of Joseph still trying to reach for him, but Sebastian never takes his hand. He always feels butthurt and betrayed, and even after Joseph tries to fucking kill himself, Joseph says the wrong thing to him to try to connect to him, and Sebastian just throws it back in his fucking face like an asshole.

The breakdown in their friendship was almost entirely Sebastian’s fault, and he must have felt that because they weren’t operating at 100% as partners because of the communication breakdown between them, the reason why Joseph got shot was because Sebastian himself wasn’t doing a good enough job of having his back. Because he didn’t have his back the last few years, he never did. He always pushed him away, even when he didn’t want to, because it was just a defense mechanism on his end.

So like, let’s also be clear with this: Sebastian wanted Joseph’s support and understanding more than anything else in the world during his personal investigation. He roped Joseph into that investigation for as long as Joseph could stand it, and he was really really hurt when Joseph cut loose and drew his line in the sand. But he still wanted Joseph by his side. That desire never went away, but now he was too afraid of getting hurt again to try to repair that fissure.

And so to think that the mere memory of Joseph’s existence was too painful for Sebastian to even face is super interesting when you juxtapose it beside Lily, who’s all that he can think about.
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