Go back to The Blackwell Epiphany

Written by: Rik

Date posted: January 8, 2019

In case it wasn’t obvious from the title, I’m going to warn you again here: do not read on unless you’ve played the game to its conclusion or are happy to have the ending spoiled for you. In fact, I’m not even going to spell out the events of the final scenes, just in case, so it’ll kind of only make sense if you’ve played or seen the ending anyway. Ok? Ok!

As mentioned in the main review, I was disappointed with Epiphany‘s conclusion first time around. I think fundamentally I always liked Rosa more than I did Joey, and felt that she got the rough end of the deal from her unexpected inheritance and career. As such, I kind of hoped that whatever ending was coming would allow her some peace or to move on with her life instead of being tethered to a ghost solving mysteries forever and ever until it drove her mad.

On that point, having gone to a lot of trouble to untangle Rosa from the series mythology that Blackwell women are basically doomed and destined to crack under the strain of their duties eventually, her alternative fate – death – doesn’t seem like much of an improvement.

The pay-off, that Joey gets another shot at life, didn’t strike me as adequate compensation. Does that make Joey the real hero, the real protagonist? I felt that the series was building towards the revelation of some kind of guilty dark secret in Joey’s past, only for it to turn out that he was an innocent, killed for no reason and burdened with his ghostly duties only because of bad luck.

I knew that I’d be playing through again, though, and I was keen to see if I felt the same second time around. I did start to wonder whether I actually didn’t want an ending at all and in fact part of me desired to see Rosa and Joey continue their adventures across more games, stringing out any ongoing Blackwell family exposition while they solved more cases, investigated more lives and freed more spirits, likes those TV procedurals with millions of episodes.

That was never a realistic proposition, though. Second and third time, I found the end scenes easier to digest. Perhaps I just didn’t want Rosa to die, but her end is handled effectively – it’s both shocking and sad, as it should be. Meanwhile, it struck me that the resurrection of Joey is perhaps supposed to seem a little hollow. You certainly get the impression that Joey feels he doesn’t deserve this second chance, but that he owes it to Rosa to make something of his new life. And the carrot dangled about a potentially dark past was done so deliberately.

Anyway, I guess it all makes sense and works well. Even if I instinctively wanted a more sentimental and feel-good ending, I can understand why it didn’t go in that direction. And most significantly, I can’t recall having been this invested in the fates of gaming characters, nor inclined to pick through the finer details of a game’s ending, for a long time. Bravo, Wadjet Eye!