Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Miranda Lawson

*Time to focus on this ex-Cerberus operative and futuristic femme fatale, voiced by and modeled after Yvonne Strahovski in "ME2" and "ME3"! And yes, there are SPOILERS!*

There have been many important characters in the fictional Commander Shepard's life in the "Mass Effect" trilogy. From mentor Admiral Anderson to jester Jeff 'Joker' Moreau, no fan could imagine the hero's life and adventures without them. There is one, however, who holds the truly unique distinction of bringing Shepard back from the dead...I'd say that makes this character important!

Miranda Lawson was made for greatness, literally, by her father Henry Lawson, a ruthless and powerful Human businessman. He sought to create a dynasty and was so fixed on that end, it even governed how he would bring his offspring into the world. Miranda was born without a mother, a test tube baby created from her father's DNA and a doubled X chromosome. Every biological trait within her was optimized, making her a virtually perfect woman both in looks and ability, including biotic powers. But as Miranda grew, she developed a personality that rejected her father's goals, especially considering she was raised virtually without love. The fact she wasn't the first child he created but the first child he kept, sealed the realization she was nothing more than a tool to Henry, and that made Miranda disgruntled against her father. Matters were made worse when Henry created a twin to Miranda, Oriana, with the intention of making her a tool, as well.

Miranda's amazing beauty and intelligence makes one recall other femme fatales of genre lore, most famously Diana Rigg's Emma Peel of the classic TV series, "The Avengers". Like Emma, Miranda is an enticing sight, yet if you get on her bad side, you'll be lucky to be alive! In her own words, "shots were fired" when she last saw her father and took Oriana when her sister was still a baby, and she ultimately found safe haven with and joined the Human-centric terrorist organization Cerberus. The Illusive Man agreed to help place Oriana with a new family and keep her new identity secret as a condition of Miranda's service. Henry had long financially backed the organization, but with Miranda under their protection, he severed his ties with them...but he never stopped looking for Oriana. As time passed, Miranda became one of the most brilliant and valued operatives in Cerberus, but even her genius-level abilities were put to the test when the organization recovered Commander Shepard's body after the Collector attack that destroyed the Normandy.

Miranda was made leader of the Lazarus Project with the singular mission of bringing Shepard back to life, exactly as he/she was, to assist Cerberus' investigations of the Collectors. After two years and massive expense, her efforts bear fruit and Shepard wakes up! When Shepard first meets Miranda, he/she sees a profient yet coolly precise woman who is pure business...she doesn't even hesitate to kill a man she suspects (correctly) tried to destroy the Lazarus Project's base. When Shepard cautiously agrees to work with the terrorists to stop the Collectors and find out if they are harvesting Humans for the Reapers, Miranda is made his/her second in command on the new Normandy.

As time passes and they work from one mission to the next, Shepard manages to lower Miranda's cool exterior...he/she gets to know a woman who in spite of being built for perfection, is still all too human. Most prominent is her insecurities: are her accomplishments really her own, or due to her father's genetic tailoring? Miranda sees herself as simply being created for greatness, but Shepard -- if he/she is a Paragon -- assures her that greatness comes from the individual's heart, not from where a person is born or what they were given. As they continue to track down the Collectors, Miranda receives some bad news: after years in hiding living a normal life with her family, Henry has finally tracked down Oriana. Shepard joins Miranda on a very personal mission to stop the Eclipse mercenaries hunting for Oriana and secure her safety again. Shepard (that is, you!) can gently convince Miranda to meet and speak with Oriana, reveal her existence as her sister, before she and her family go into hiding again.

As the crew of the Normandy approach their goal, Shepard might even decide to pursue a romantic relationship with the woman who brought him back to life. <3 (But only if you're a ShepDude...sorry, FemSheps, no lesbian romance with Miranda!) Their moment of truth arrives with their suicide mission on the far side of the Omega Four Relay, in the Galactic Core. If you're careful with your decisions and have a steady aim, Shepard and everyone following him will survive. When the time comes to destroy the Collector base, the Illusive Man calls and interrupts, calling for Shepard to leave the base intact so that Cerberus can use its advanced technology. If you're a Paragon, Shepard will say hell, no: the base killed and processed an unknowable number of humans to create the shell of a Human-Reaper hybrid. Miranda can't help but agree and supports Shepard...when the Illusive Man gets angry with her, Miranda tells him she's resigning from Cerberus and cuts him off. They escape just as the Collectors go up in a blaze of glory. This doesn't stop their masters, the Reapers, and the oncoming war with them.

After destroying a Batarian Mass Relay in the DLC adventure "The Arrival", Shepard is taken back to Earth and placed under house arrest for his/her actions sometime between "ME2" and "ME3". This doesn't end Shepard's romance with Miranda, but she's forced to stay mostly underground during the third chapter to protect herself. Her father has returned to supporting Cerberus and the Illusive Man, considering they have Miranda as a common enemy. She contacts Shepard during the war against the Reapers to tell him she can't reunite with him because Oriana has gone missing, and Miranda's searching desperately for her. Even if they share a romance, Miranda meets with the Commander only briefly to ask for Alliance resources to help her track Oriana down, and to trust she'll be all right working on her own.

Miranda finds Oriana on Horizon, at a refuge for those who want to escape the war called Sanctuary. Shepard travels there as well, and discovers Sanctuary is a Cerberus front managed by Henry Lawson himself. The place is actually a testbed with the cold-blooded agenda of taking innocent refugees and transforming them into Husks with Reaper technology...Cerberus' objective is to find a means to control Husks, which might take them closer to controlling the powerful Reapers! If Shepard and Miranda are careful, Miranda will survive an attack by Kai Leng...and then they will both confront Henry, who is holding Oriana hostage. If Shepard can peacefully end the standoff and convince Henry to let Oriana go, he will...but then Miranda will kill her father anyway, to once and for all free her and her sister. The twins are gratefully together again...but even if Shepard is romantic with her, there will still be distance between them as Miranda joins the war effort to help him, and things culminate in all-out conflict on Earth.

And...don't worry, I won't go into the ending again!

Whether there is closure (I hope) of some point in the future, perhaps it will involve Shepard and Miranda getting back together finally, and forever. <3 Miranda is one of the most captivating characters of the trilogy, and not just because she's literally perfect. It's what makes her imperfect that makes her truly interesting, and makes us want to see more of her!

No comments:

Post a Comment