Single Status Update
For all of the flak that Shadow's backstory and Adventure 2's writing gets, I have to say that no matter how many times I see it or interpretations of it that there is something about Maria dying as she launches Shadow to Earth in that capsule that just does it for me. It's really a shame that all of the memory manipulation that Shadow deals with and unnecessary complicated additions he receives to his back story kind of make it hard to say if that scene ever happened. I find that a shame since that scene is really defines Shadow's character and motivations and I can't even saw if he actually experienced it or not. That just sucks.
Maybe its just me, but some part of me honestly feels like the death of Maria is one of the most underdeveloped aspects of the tale of the ARK, despite being so crucial to Shadow’s character.
Like they probably could have shown Gerald as being a caring man who slowly but surely began to lose his mind as his attempts to save his granddaughter failed, resulting in him going to more and more dangerous lengths to save her at the cost of pissing off the military and government (although it’s my headcanon that he was a possibly difficult and arrogant man to anyone he didn’t care for, which would add an extra layer to his character, since it’s at least hinted that he was a bit of an egotist considering the ARK’s cannon form looks like his face), with her death causing him to snap completely.
On the other end, I would have also liked to see the relationship between Shadow and Maria more, like a sickly big sister with a naive younger brother relationship. It would play out that Shadow does everything in his power to try to help and protect her despite how little he understands about the world he’s been brought into, and she in turn would give him an identity and a sense of being his own person.
For him, this would be a huge deal, since I kinda would like to believe that Shadow was treated more as an experiment by the scientists of the ARK more than a person, and Gerald in my mind was torn between his fear for Maria’s failing health and his own inability to find the cure to her disease, resulting in him being unintentionally aloof and distant to Shadow, though still trying to be kind.
This dynamic would be tested more as Maria’s health declines, resulting in Gerald’s declining mental state, Maria feeling more and more trapped due to something she has no control over, and Shadow feeling inadequate and a failure for not being able to do what he was made to do.
That said, when Maria finally does face her death, I’d like to think she did so with a sense of dignity, and that her last words would be expanded on so that she’s telling Shadow not to let the evil of a few people taint his views of humanity, that despite what he might want to believe about himself, he made her remaining time alive warmer and brighter than what had come before, and that she was grateful and happy for knowing him.
And most importantly, she’d want him to be the light in someone else’s life, to help others have the chance to be as happy as he had made her...and to give himself a chance to be happy as well.
Is so weird right? Is possible that Maria didn't even got killed but Shadow's memory is so messed up that he think just that. Maybe she died of her disease during the raid.
Heck, if you play the HD version of SA2, they removed that gunshot sound in the flashback cutscene (possibly cuz the port is crap)! Is possible to think that Maria just was dying right there because of the disease finally getting into her.
Yet for everything they messed up with that scene it is still my favorite scene involving Shadow. Admittedly though I do like some of his interactions with Mephiles, his memories of Maria just to me at least make Shadow a character worth exploring. As someone who is all for the Sonic franchise returning to a more adventure and wanderer driven narrative like the classics I would love to see Shadow as a wanderer like Sonic, Mighty, and Amy to an extent, whose adventures and wandering are contrasted against his memories of his time with Maria. I know he supposedly put his past behind him but I still think this would be a great way to explore him and his past.