Push to Smart is back at the Water Cooler for a discussion about Burial At Sea, Bioshock Infinite’s two part DLC that left Jaylee and Stacey tickled but not impressed.
This episode contains spoilers for Bioshock Infinite and Burial At Sea Welcome back to the Push to Smart Water Cooler! This time we will be discussing Burial at Sea, the recent two part DLC pack for Bioshock Infinite. If you’ve seen our previous episodes, you’ll know that we had a lot of problems with Bioshock Infinite, but ultimately our love for Rapture won out, and we continued to follow the adventures of Elizabeth and Booker, this time in the objectivist utopia under the sea.
JAYLEE: What happened during the first episode of Burial at Sea? That is a very good question. [laughter] Um, what DID happen? Ok, so you’re trying to find a girl. The girl is maybe your daughter. You get to dance with your also-other maybe-daughter. You get electrocuted. You go to an abandoned place. And then… You kind of find your other daughter after a big daddy. And it’s very confusing.
STACEY: Yeah… That was a good summary!
JAYLEE: Oh yeah!
STACEY: Yeah, I had no idea. I was kind of excited, cautiously optimistic to play. I love Rapture, I love the first game. I even love Bioshock 2, even though we like to pretend it doesn’t exist. And I was really excited to kind of see them back off from Columbia and all of the racist baggage that comes with it and go back to what they know,and it turns out they don’t know it very well. [laughter] Yeah, Rapture just felt really, weirdly dead—even though we get to see it in its glory days right before everything goes crazy. Um, it was just really strange to play [laughs] What were your thoughts?
JAYLEE: You know, I actually have to disagree with you.
JAYLEE: I actually thought that the pre-crisis Rapture was really cool. Overhearing all the conversations, just as you walk by, everybody is kind of laid back. At the same time, it felt like everybody’s conversation… there’d be a bit more variety in the conversations in real life instead of all being about the same thing.
STACEY: Yeah, which, I understand their desire to do that because this is literally right before the revolution happens and everything just breaks apart, so it’s on everybody’s mind. But at the same time, there are other ways to approach it without everyone sounding like, uh, like a political mouthpiece? So, I made in my notes for this, like Mass Effect 3 does a really good job with ambient dialogue because the war is on everybody’s mind, but everybody has something different to say about it depending on who they are or where they come from. So you have the military discussion, but you also have merchants talking about their concern over trade routes, you have families that are trying to figure out how to relocate their children out of danger… whereas everything in Rapture was just, like, ‘what do you think about this Fountaine fellow?’ And it just.. it just didn’t feel like a real world.
The one thing I thought that really worked in the world building was when you walk into the bar, and there’s the waiter that is using the Houdini splicers from the first game’s ability to from table to table and to come and greet you. It was, like, OK, this is how the technology existed and was justified before everyone turned into monsters. It was just such a great moment to kind of see it at work and it was like, THAT was what I wanted out of Burial At Sea I wanted to see what Rapture was like, how these things functioned in a…relatively, you know, functional society before it all just went to crap.
JAYLEE: It was really cool to see the slicers in a different context then, you know, just crazed, wrench-bearing, shoot-em-all Um, another thing I REALLY liked was right outside the club—all the creepy, rabbit-faced guys on the pedestal. That was probably one of my favorite parts. Um, my least favorite part was probably everything else. [laughter]
Ok, I actually really did… I have a soft spot for femme fatale. Elizabeth as a femme fatale I thought was very cool. Even if she fell into several of the tropes that come along with that character type.
STACEY: Which was weird, especially because the detective is her dad. You’re like, “Oh, where is this going?” “This is kind of creepy…” Uh, yeah.
JAYLEE: Exactly. But the story made… it didn’t make much sense. It was very vague. But then they tried explaining it and it made zero sense.
STACEY: There was a weird exposition dump at the very end that.. you’re right, it didn’t make any sense. You could tell they were trying to set up the next episode and kinda bring you up to speed instead it just made it much more confusing and that much less enjoyable
JAYLEE: Yeah, and I know that when I finished it, you had already finished it, and I had no clue what it all meant. But you had actually a pretty great theory for what it could mean. I don’t think it’ll save how incoherent it was, but let’s talk about that theory of yours.
STACEY: Right. Ok, my theory is that this is Elizabeth kind of going through the timelines to tie up loose ends. So, like, in the original Bioshock Infinite, the big reveal at the end of course, is that Comstock and Booker are the same person, and the only way to prevent all the Comstocks in all the possible timelines from coming to power and abusing everyone is to kill Booker. And so, the big reveal at the end of the DLC is that the Booker you’re playing as is actually Comstock. Which is first kind of eeehhh…
So the way I think it’s going to TRY to justify it is that because we see the Anna in this timeline possibly died because her head was coming through the wall instead of her finger to be severed, this created some kind of weird, hiccup in the timeline where Comstock is allowed to live. So, Elizabeth is coming to this timeline to, like I said, tie up those loose ends and kill this Comstock, so there are literally no Comstocks left.
JAYLEE: So, in this one, because Anna died, there wasn’t an Elizabeth who grew up and killed Comstock, so Other Elizabeth from a different timeline is coming to just kill this Comstock
STACEY: That is a much more succinct way to say it. Yes.
Two of the images in this sequences I absolutely loved. like, the image of the daughter’s head kind of, slow-motion, coming through the wall… my toes curled. “oh my god!”
JAYLEE: I know! So uncomfortable!
STACEY: Um, and then I loved the callback to the very first launch trailer for Bioshock with the drill coming through Comstock’s chest in the first person.
JAYLEE: Oh, yeah!
STACEY: I really liked that, you know, kind of… nod to the original. Didn’t justify everything that happened, but it did tickle me.
JAYLEE [LAUGHING]: In conclusion, we were tickled but not impressed. I think that does it for our water cooler discussion. I think our next discussion is going to be about The Walking Dead Season 2, Episode 1, but our next full episode is going to be very exciting, and it’s going to be our game of the year thoughts, disappointments, picks so look forward to that! And of course, if you enjoyed the DLC any more, or if you have thoughts about where it’s going or what happened, please let us know and discuss it in the comment section of the video below.
CLIP BOOKER: “Thanks.”
ELIZABETH: “You wanna thank me? Next time try ducking.”
Credits: Edited by Jaylee and Stacey
Music by DJ MapReduce
Footage from Burial At Sea, Bioshock Infinite, Bioshock, Bioshock 2, and The Walking Dead