Thursday, January 4, 2018

"The Last Jedi" Rant 2: Rey Was Right Not To Join Kylo

Another thing I see people saying about The Last Jedi is "it would have been more interesting if Rey had taken Kylo up on his offer and joined him to bring order to the galaxy."

For instance, I saw a webcomic someone wrote which implied that this would have allowed them both to heal or similar. Also, in RedLetterMedia's review, they argued that doing so would have allowed the forming of a government to resolve the conflict. Let's think about this, though.

1. Kylo Ren's Motivation
When Kylo offers his hand to Rey, he's not offering her some kind of truce. He's not saying "Join with me so we can sort out this conflict around the negotiating table and agree to a solution which suits everyone." He's offering her a position of co-tyrant as absolute rulers of the galaxy. Would this really work as a character development for our protagonist, a woman who has never previously shown the slightest inclination towards desiring power over others? Furthermore, would it be a desirable message for this or any film, implying that there was value in autocracy and dictatorship? Kylo Ren's offer doesn't imply governance; it implies unquestionable authority and totalitarianism. 

2. Kylo Ren's Method
Kylo tells Rey that she's nobody, "but not to me". Admittedly I stole this from somewhere else, but this is the behaviour of an abuser, not an ally. He's putting her down so that he can get what he wants: the company and attention of a person he thinks understands him. His offer, in this light, isn't really an offer at all, but a manipulative and selfish request phrased in terms intended to undermine Rey's self esteem. Again, why would we want Rey to join this man?

3. Rey's Point of View
Through their Force connection, Rey has come to somewhat sympathise with Kylo Ren. She recognises that he is extremely conflicted and feels betrayed, and is somewhat pitiable as a result. This doesn't really change the fact, however, that she knows by reputation that Kylo Ren is a mass-murderer, and knows by experience that he is a parricide, who murdered his own father in front of her very eyes. He also once kidnapped her for information and tried to force that information from her using the Force. If he reached out his hand to you, would you want to take it?

As far as I can tell, it would have been totally inconsistent for Rey to join forces with Kylo Ren. Not only would it be out of character for her, but Kylo Ren made the offer in an extremely manipulative way with deeply questionable motives, and Rey knows enough about him to perceive this. As much as I'd like to see a different spin on the same old Star Wars good guys vs bad guys conflict, this would not have worked as a way to do it.

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