Zombie Rei?

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Zombie Rei?

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Postby Shin-seiki » Sun Feb 28, 2010 5:58 pm

This topic is inspired by, and in response to, this very intriguing and insightful post by OMF:
ObsessiveMathsFreak wrote:I'm just wondering about the nature of Rei's disintegration in EoE. Gendou claims it is because Rei's AT Field can no longer hold its shape; or at least this is the translation in both the Manga and Bochan Bird translations. This is rather intriguing, as it might suggest that Rei's body could simply be a manifestation of here AT Field. This is a bit speculative though; I always took from this scene that Rei's body was being held together be her AT Field, not that her body was he AT Field.

In any case, I'm wondering why exactly Rei beings to fall apart in #26'. What is causing her AT Field to break down? Has she stopped taking her medications? Has she missed some special treatment; perhaps a session in the dummy plug tank, as seen in #15 and #17? I has assumed these sessions were some for of mental resynch, but perhaps there is something deeper to it?

Could here disintegration then be related to the destruction of the Dummy bodies? Perhaps Rei is linked to or even reliant on these bodies to a greater degree than has been otherwise supposed? If so, this might explain Ritsuko's words to Gendou in #24'.
Episode #24' wrote:IKARI:Why did you destroy the dummy system?

RITSUKO:Not the dummy system, what I destroyed was Rei.

Could destroying the dummy plug bodies have meant the eventual disintegration of Rei as well? Is this the reason she eventually begins falling apart? If so, it might have implications for the motivations behind Ritsuko's actions in #23'.

Food for thought.
Food for thought indeed; I've been thinking about what OMF has suggested, especially the underscored above, ever since it was somewhat belatedly brought to my attention, and I feel it deserves its own thread.

As regards what Ritsuko says in #24: "Not the dummy system, what I destroyed was Rei.", I think that, as a general rule in NGE, people tend to say what they mean, and mean what they say, and this is especially true for Ritsuko. I don't think we need to put any kind of spin on what she says here; she states declaratively to Gendo that she destroyed Rei, and, to understand what is actually going on here plot-wise, it behooves us to take her at her word. So consider her actions in #23' in this light (and note, btw, the similarity of of her intent expression in these three cuts)

Realization that Gendo found her expendable, in favor of Rei:
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Contemplation of what to do by way of revenge (while in the voice-over, SEELE seems to anticipate that sending her back to NERV will serve their own ends...):
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and action:
Image
Image
Image
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Note the read-out on her hand-held:
Image

Now Ritsuko is a deadly jealous woman, but no fool; she knows that if she were to simply go and, say, shoot Rei 3, or push her out a window, or whatever, she would only succeed in getting herself arrested, and then Gendo and Fuyutsuki would just get a fourth clone out of the Reiquaruim and start over, and she wouldn't have really accomplished anything. But keeping in mind her adamant declaration after the fact that she "destroyed Rei", I think it becomes apparent that she has thought this thru: "destrudo realease" of all the clones in the Dummy System will not only destroy the clones in the tank, but, judging by what we see and hear in #26' ("There's no time... Your AT Field can no longer hold your shape."), it seems to have doomed Rei 3 as well. Thus, if her plot had worked as planned, Rei 3 would literally fall apart, and there would be no back-ups to replace her. Perhaps SEELE's moves subsequent to #23 (sending Kaworu in #24, and then attacking NERV in #25') were more sudden than Ritsuko could have anticipated, but in any case it seems that Rei 3 just barely holds together long enough to play her part in 3I.

So, by way of justifying the title of this topic, let's look at how Ritsuko's action in destroying the Dummy System clones eventually affects Rei 3. If you consider Rei 2, it seems that, while at a fundamental level she was made of PWM, at the level of molecular structure and above (i.e. cells, tissues, organs, and so on), she was made and functioned essentially as a normal human; she eats...
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she breaths...
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and she bleeds...
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...in other words, she had a pulse, and a metabolism. And presumably this was true for Rei 3 as well, when she first shows up in #23. But by the time we get to #26', it seems that Rei 3 is certainly not functioning like a normal human, in fact she's giving a distinct impression of being something like an animated corpse:
Image
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(Gendo is remarkably unfazed by this macabre development, but it seems that he grasped what Ritsuko had in mind.)

Hey! its "a woman who doesn't bleed"
Image

So, it seems that an intact, functioning, Dummy System correlates with a Rei that is alive in a normal sense, while Rei after the DS is destroyed may be more like a soul occupying her body as a vessel, but not living in it. In any case, this puts a new perspective on this cut from #25'; Rei is not only looking at where she came from, but perhaps is considering what the immediate future holds for her as well...
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Postby NemZ » Sun Feb 28, 2010 7:03 pm

Hmm... very interesting!

My interpretation was that Ritsuko was killing Rei indirectly by making her no longer effectively immortal and that Rei (and GNR later) fall apart because her body no longer corresponds to her active ATF-powered self-perception, begun when she was forced to project her field to help Shinji kill Kaworu. (for GNR, when she gave up on temporal existence)

This theory though is rather nifty, and might even make sense with the quantum physics stuff earlier in 23... specifically, the linked fates of entwined particles.
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Postby Shin-seiki » Sun Feb 28, 2010 7:07 pm

NemZ wrote:This theory though is rather nifty, and might even make sense with the quantum physics stuff earlier in 23... specifically, the linked fates of entwined particles.
Indeed. I think maybe they were trying to tell us something about Rei's fundamental nature here, as well:
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Postby galacticgalaxy » Sun Feb 28, 2010 8:22 pm

NemZ wrote:My interpretation was that Ritsuko was killing Rei indirectly by making her no longer effectively immortal and that Rei (and GNR later) fall apart because her body no longer corresponds to her active ATF-powered self-perception.


My thoughts exactly! I think that perhaps Ritsuko was trying to break the cycle in a way, and destroy every last essence related to the Angels. This is certainly interesting. Its a strange thought that for a short time, Rei III became "human" once the clones were destroyed- finaly having a soul existance.. perhaps Ritsuko thought about this also? maybe she wanted Rei to become more of a complete being, not living as a replacement but living as herself, for herself, and in turn creating more of a self-awareness for Rei.. becoming an individual rather than being a tool.

If that even makes any sense!

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Postby ObsessiveMathsFreak » Sun Feb 28, 2010 8:45 pm

This certainly all adds considerable depth on top to my idle musing! The idea that the destruction of the dummy system may have lead to Rei's disintegration seemed to me to be something unprovable which we could only ever speculate on, but Shin-seiki has shown that there is in fact a basis for the idea that Rei needs the dummy plug sessions in order to keep on existing.

Shin-seiki wrote:Image
(Gendo is remarkably unfazed by this macabre development, but it seems that he grasped what Ritsuko had in mind.)

Hey! its "a woman who doesn't bleed"
Image

You've done it again Shin; picked a seemingly insignificant detail and showed how it has profound meaning. Rei isn't bleeding here. Moreover her pieces are just crumbling apart. The concept of some kind of "Zombie Rei" cannot be far off the mark of what we're really seeing here.

This certainly isn't down to directorial squeamishness or the like. End of Evangelion features fountains of blood all over the place with Nerv Employee's, cast members and especially the MP Evas draining gallons of it all over the place.

The scene that seems to link to this one the most is the disintegration of GNR/Lilith, but this seems to be a slightly different case. There, Rei/Lilith's soul has recently vacated GNR, leading to its disintegration (With blood). Here, Rei's soul is obviously still in her body, which is essentially already "dead".

One other scene that is brought to mind is the repair of Unit-02 after its arms and head have been removed. The operators mention somethign about necrosis, mitosis and apoptosis, but I think these could be simply be regular "medical" terms.

I think what is clear here is how Rei's body is essentially more akin to the Eva's than it is to a normal human's. Later on we even see her uses Gendou's arm to repair her own, in a scene that invokes Unit-01's use of Zeruel's material in #19. However in one case we have a PWM based repair, but in the second are we looking at a "normal flesh" based repair, a PWM one or a mix? (Gendou's arm is after all merging with Adam)

Shin-seiki wrote:So, it seems that an intact, functioning, Dummy System correlates with a Rei that is alive in a normal sense, while Rei after the DS is destroyed may be more like a soul occupying her body as a vessel, but not living in it.

I think what may be going on is something akin to Rei "losing synch" with her body, perhaps in an analogous way to a pilot losing synch with their Eva. Except in Rei's case, she is synching with "herself", and loss of synch is far more serious.

Exactly how the dummy system session helped avoid this problem isn't very clear at all. I had originally felt that the only purpose of these was to "download" Rei's memories to the dummies; taking a backup if you will. But it's clear that Rei works in a substantially different way. Perhaps communing with the dummy bodies somehow recalls Rei's original "salvage" from Lilith/Unit-01? The Libido/Destrudo theme was brought up during Shinji's salvage attempt in #20. Perhaps when Ritsuko released the Destrudo in #23' she disengaged whatever process was "containing" or holding the dummy bodies in their form, a process akin to whatever was trying to "hold" Shinji in his own form in #20. Perhaps it is this process or "loop" which Rei must periodically rejoin in order to maintain cohesion or synch.

Writing this, I'm reminded for how much Nerv seemed to know about the mechanics of salvage, libido, destrudo, etc in #20. Could their expertise in fact have been gained though extensive maintenance of the dummy system?

I'll end all this idle rambling with one final comment. How does Rei's skinny dip in Terminal Dogma during #25' relate to all this?
[wkimg width=200]M25 C159 Rei big.jpg[/wkimg]
Could she be trying to simulate her Dummy Plug sessions here? Is this an attempt by Rei to stave off the inevitable? We've interpreted her folded clothes as being evocative of a suicide attempt, but is the opposite in fact the case? Has Rei woken up and come down here in an effort to keep on living?
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Postby Merridian » Sun Feb 28, 2010 10:50 pm

OMF wrote:How does Rei's skinny dip in Terminal Dogma during #25' relate to all this?
I figured skinny-dipping in the LCL did some voodoo to the cells that allowed her to maintain her form despite her body beginning to fall apart. This would indeed lend credence to her “waking up in an effort to continue living”, but the question then would be why? I figured it had to do with the decision she made just a few scenes prior with the broken Gendo glasses; perhaps she understood the inevitability of 3I, coupled with how “the world is overflowing with sorrow” (or whatever the exact line is), and that Instrumentality was the only actual solution to it. The broken Gendo glasses obviously imply her negligence to cooperate with Gendo, so she’d decided to put her faith into someone who had (ironically) absolutely NO second-objectives, hidden agendas, etc, because he had absolutely no motivation and will whatsoever, yet was still in a position to be of use & do something provided he could motivate himself.

tl;dr: Rei recognized 3I as necessary catharsis, and a lack of faith in Gendo meant she’d throw her weight behind Shinji & trust him to do the ‘right thing’. Whether that trust paid off isn’t really important to this discussion, I don’t think. She finally understood her ‘motherhood/mother of humanity’ aspect, and would do everything she could to help her “kids”, but letting her body disintegrate wouldn’t be beneficial to anyone.

I’m not really sure of logistics behind LCL preserving PWM flesh, but that’s just something I kinda assumed every time I watch the film.

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Postby NemZ » Sun Feb 28, 2010 11:07 pm

The fact that Gendo "knew I'd find you here" at the dummy system tanks implies that she comes here often... perhaps just to unwind when she feels troubled or to commune with her other selves. Perhaps she came to her favorite spot in the sephiroth-like chamber, found that connection impossible to form, then went to investigate what was up... finding her other selves for the first time in a state of decay.

Her later decomposition may not have been directly caused by this change, but perhaps as a subconscious sympathetic response?
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Postby Sailor Star Dust » Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:33 am

Ironic that one of the few characters in the show that manages to accept herself has to have an even more depressing fate than it first seemed. To think that even if (and that's a pretty big if) 3I could have been prevented that Rei-3 STILL would have died is just... I mean, I know Rei/Lilith's (and Kaworu as well as Yui) a tragic character, but...
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Postby Halicat » Mon Mar 01, 2010 10:13 am

I honestly never thought of the 'zombie Rei' concept. I really think you're onto something here. I can't really sit and contribute at this time but I do definitely feel the reiquarium and her medication play an important role in her survival.

This just makes me wonder, how was she able to regenerate her limb? As well as that, does anyone support the idea that Kaworu is exactly the same as her in this regard? If so, why was he described as having scars in the original draft script of 24?

EDIT: For the limb question, I reckon it's the PWM component of her flesh. I also imagine it's PWM that stops her from dying completely, but incapable of holding her together since her human component can't cope.
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Postby Grimmjow » Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:18 am

Cool theory. At first I simply thought the reason Ritsuko said this was because she felt that by destroying the fake Reis she had managed to kill Rei.

Just gives me yet another reason to hate that bitch Ritsuko. Makes me glad that Gendo brought down the pimp hand of justice upon her.

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Postby AuraTwilight » Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:26 pm

While this is an awesome theory, I can't quite grasp a causal reason why destroying the Dummy System would make Rei start like...lego-ing apart.

I'll just stick with the idea that Ritsuko was destroying Rei's immortality, and Rei was following apart due to an irreconcilable self-perception change.
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Postby JoeD80 » Mon Mar 01, 2010 3:20 pm

Halicat wrote:This just makes me wonder, how was she able to regenerate her limb?

Didn't she steal Gendo's arm to do it? Pretty much the same way Unit 1 did with the 14th Angel.

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Postby NemZ » Mon Mar 01, 2010 3:38 pm

Taking the embryo probably had a lot more to do with it than Gendo's arm.
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Postby Halicat » Mon Mar 01, 2010 4:18 pm

JoeD80 wrote:Didn't she steal Gendo's arm to do it? Pretty much the same way Unit 1 did with the 14th Angel.


NemZ wrote:Taking the embryo probably had a lot more to do with it than Gendo's arm.


Why I forget these points I do not know. :headscratch:

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Postby Reichu » Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:15 pm

AuraTwilight wrote:While this is an awesome theory, I can't quite grasp a causal reason why destroying the Dummy System would make Rei start like...lego-ing apart.

In a similar vein, I have to wonder why the physical integrity of one Rei clone would fundamentally rely upon the integrity of all Rei clones.

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Postby NemZ » Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:24 pm

Is it possible Rei just naturally has a short lifespan? It's a rather common problem with clones, last I heard.
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Postby Reichu » Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:43 pm

NemZ wrote:Is it possible Rei just naturally has a short lifespan? It's a rather common problem with clones, last I heard.

AFAIK this problem affects clones because they're grown from adult cells (e.g. the nucleus that became Dolly came from a mammary cell), and hence reach the Hayflick Limit faster. Rei doesn't appear to suffer from this problem; falling apart into bloodless chunks isn't quite the same as getting wrinkly and senile.

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Postby MugwumpHasNoLiver » Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:05 pm

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Rei 3 have the complete soul of Lilith? Maybe Rei's decomposition has something to do with the body straining to accept the entirety of the soul? What if the soul is eating through her body and she can only keep it intact by absorbing LCL, which is Lilith's Blood and as such is used to the pressure of Lilith's soul? This could also explain why Rei suddenly become 'zombified' in EoE because she didn't spread Lilith's AT Field until the end of #24. Maybe it started tearing itself under the pressure of the weight of her own soul?

I have no idea what I'm talking about, I just thought I'd throw some ideas out there.
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Postby Azathoth » Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:18 pm

MugwumpHasNoLiver wrote:I have no idea what I'm talking about, I just thought I'd throw some ideas out there.


Yeah, that didn't make a whole hell of a lot of sense, but maybe you're onto something. Could this perhaps be the consequence of trying to contain a soul as big (powerful? awesome? over 9000?) as Lilith's in a body without a core?

*I'm assuming for the purposes of this theory that Lilith's core was transferred into Unit 01 when it branched off.
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Postby Reichu » Tue Mar 02, 2010 8:03 pm

@Azathoth: IMO the issue at hand is confusing and convoluted enough without invoking issues worth long and convoluted discussions of their own, such as "Just what is the precise function of a core ANYway?", "Did Lilith have a core?", "If she did, what happened to it?", and "Exactly how was Eva-01 grown from Lilith?". Or, more to the point, note that without a detailed and established answer to the first question (and I'm pretty sure one covering all the bases you require doesn't exist), it's probably far too early to be making assumptions for the purpose of theory about the latter items.
Last edited by Reichu on Wed Mar 03, 2010 12:13 am, edited 1 time in total.


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