Here’s An Explanation Of BioShock Infinite’s Ending For A Better Understanding.
In the years that would follow, Dewitt would fall into a state of depression and self-loathing, until the Luteces enter the picture.
Ah, the Luteces. By and large my favorite characters in this game, they are key to everything, and in a way, the true heroes of Infinite.
Allow me to explain. The “Lutece Twins,” who are not twins at all but actually male and female version of the same person existing in alternate dimensions, created the machines that could create “tears” between the dimensions. Comstock, in his mission to kill everyone who knew the truth about him, sabotaged the twins, but instead of dying, they essentially transcended metaphysical bounds, existing outside of the universes in a “closed loop.”
The Luteces have three motivations:
- One – to break out of this closed loop (although Rosalind admits she doesn’t much mind it, Robert does – two sides of the same coin)
- Two – Stop the multiverse apocalypse, as delivered by Elizabeth if allowed to be shepherded by Comstock unfettered.
- Three – Although I can’t recall if it’s directly stated, the twins assisted Comstock in the trade/abduction of Anna/Elizabeth, and might want to see a father and daughter reunited as atonement.
Ending the loop
To accomplish these tasks, the Luteces put the gears in motion on a plan. They enter into Dewitt’s universe, while he’s mopey and depressed over selling his daughter, and drag him into Comstock’s. They inform him he’s on a new mission – find Elizabeth and bring her to New York. Dewitt’s sort of insane mind fills in the gaps to reconcile this.
As the Lutece’s initial conversation on the boat at the beginning of the game informs us, this is not the first time this experiment has been tried. In fact, a coin toss tally later on indicates that this has been tried over a hundred times before.
Dewitt has been caught in a never-ending cycle of trying to save his daughter. He had already been to Columbia, tried, and failed, various times. One outcome we learn about is one in which he becomes a martyr for the Vox Populi. Dewitt was a constant in a never ending-loop. He always ends up back at the baptism, and he always makes one choice or the other, ensuring another Comstock or Dewitt.
Except this time. This time, he makes a third choice. The twins experiment finally yields success, and Booker has the revelation he finally needs to close the loop. Why did he get this revelation? It’s unclear – it could be that his journey has finally clued him in on how to be a real father, allowing him to make the sacrifice necessary. Or perhaps the future Elizabeth providing the key about controlling the Song Bird altered the events. Regardless, Dewitt accepts that he needs to die. Rather than emerge from the waters of baptism as a sinner or a saint, he realizes that to fix things, he needs to not emerge at all.
By killing himself at the point in time where he accepted the baptism, Dewitt kills off ANY universal possibilities of Comstock. By dying, Dewitt ensures that Comstock never exists. Comstock never builds Columbia. Comstock never enters Dewitt’s reality and takes Anna. In short, the events of BioShock Infinite are erased.
A happy ending
Now, I need to clarify why I think this is actually a happy ending. A lot of people assume that everyone dies or is erased from existence because of this decision. That, as far as I can tell, is false. When Dewitt killed himself at that juncture at the baptism at Wounded Knee, he didn’t erase himself from existence – he simply killed off every version of Comstock that could exist in the other universes.
In the scene after the credits, Dewitt awakens in his apartment, and goes to check on baby Anna crying in the bedroom. This scene is the universe reacting to Dewitt’s colossal alteration of the timeline, and returning him back to the point right before any of Comstock’s tampering. As the calendar in the scene informs us, this is the day that Comstock WOULD have carried out the deal, and taken Anna. However, now, there is no Comstock. Anna will not be taken and used to carry out an apocalypse. Dewitt and his daughter finally have a reality where they get to be together, and, it’s implied, the Dewitt in this scene is the one who has been transformed into a better man, not the one who was so depressed and lost that he sold his daughter in the first place.
This is the part where the ending really shines – behind all the complexity and sci-fi nonsense, this is a tale of a man who learned about the meaning of being a father, and earned a second chance with his daughter to do things the right way. Yes, it means that the version of Elizabeth that we came to know throughout the course of the game no longer exists, technically speaking, but she now has a chance to live a normal life with a loving father, and grow into the strong woman that she’s destined to be – the woman that we’ve seen her be. While it’s sad that the relationship we cultivated with Anna/Elizabeth has essentially been converted back to square one, let’s keep in mind the existences of Elizabeth where she was locked in a tower for her whole life, and especially the ones where she was TORTURED, INDOCTRINATED, AND LED AN ASSAULT ON MANKIND, have been reset.
In short – now, in all universes, Comstock never exists, Columbia is never built, and Dewitt and Anna can live their normal lives together. Like I said, happy.
As a post-end caveat, I thought I’d touch on the Rapture connection. While some fans are clamoring for direct links between Dewitt/Andrew Ryan (like the fact that Dewitt can manipulate the Bathyspheres that were genetically locked out by all those except Ryan and his son/clone, Jack), I think it’s simply another layer in the themes, and an example of the different versions reality can take.
Although it is worth mentioning that the events in BioShock 2 directly mirror those in Infinite, with a father figure on a mission to save his daughter, whose powers are being abused. Then there’s the fact that the abbreviation of Booker Dewitt, BD, is also for “Big Daddy.” And let’s not forget that Elizabeth is referred to as the Lamb, while the daughter in BioShock 2 is named…Eleanor Lamb.