Detroit: Become Human

Meta on the different degrees of deviancy – Connor’s complex case

DetroitBecomeHuman5 - Meta on the different degrees of deviancy - Connor's complex case

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I'm here to share my thoughts on why Connor's independence and emotions displayed doesn't make him a deviant. I've seen comments saying "Connor is already a deviant in The Hostage because he can save the fish and take the gun" or that "saving Hank makes Connor a deviant."

I'll have to put my analysis on Connor at the very end of this long post because I need to contrast him.

Deviancy based on the wiki is about:

  • An android going against its programming (disobedience & violence against owner)
  • Showing features unnecessary for its tasks (PTSD and fear)
  • Free will, autonomy and consciousness

Androids in DBH are not equal and are for different purposes, that's why they display deviancy in different ways. Some androids can't even function without orders and stay dormant in parking lots. Some of the notable deviants in the game and their triggers:

  • Daniel – (Fear and betrayal) Driven by fear of getting decommissioned/replaced, learned to hate his owners and inflict violence. Learned firearms and has idea on how to escape ("I want a car!"). Responded well to a pacifist and compassionate Connor.
  • Carlos' Android – (Fear, continuous abuse and self-awareness) Retaliated to his owner's attempt to kill him. Hid in the attic for weeks because he doesn't know what to do after.
  • Rupert – (Fear) Got scared when a fellow android got attacked, hid and made a fake identity, but does nothing but take care of pigeons (not far from his agricultural programming)
  • Tracis – (Fear, self-awareness, love for another android) Traci killed a human after he killed another android. Worked together to escape the brothel and decided to run away as lovers.
  • Luthor – (Abuse of other androids) He was obedient to Zlatko but he arrived at a tipping point, possibly through a cumulative experience of seeing other androids tortured.
  • North – (Autonomy and disgust) One day she realized she is being violated against her will and recognized that she has a right to her body. Killed her rapist.

Kara

I'll start with Kara as she is technically a generic android and the least advanced model among the three leads, yet become a deviant out of her own choice to protect someone rather than trauma. Note that I don't consider her the same as the Kara in the short film for the sake of keeping the analysis in the DBH only. If she was the same Kara she was still reset and had her memory wiped at the beginning of the game.

Unlike Markus and Connor, Kara is made to be less independent and has simpler tasks of housekeeping. If Todd doesn't give her orders she can just do nothing and be dormant like other parked androids. She has less capacity as she doesn't have perks like scenario reconstruction, art, advanced combat skills, memory transfer etc.

Note that despite Kara's "generic" features, she was able to:

  • Recognize the potential danger to Alice despite and went against Todd's orders
  • Can result to violence to protect Alice (not just herself), can use gun to achieve her goals.
  • Capacity to form plans after escape, unlike Carlos' android. After short term plans of finding shelter, she developed long term plans like going to Zlatko, to Rose and eventually to Canada.
  • Has good human integration capacity like Connor, able to blend in, deceive people or earn sympathy.

Kara's deviancy and her ensuing independence are disproportionately more advanced than her model's capability, but it's never contradictory to her programming of being a nanny. You wonder how far Kara can go if she lost her motherhood early on, which I hoped the game made into a viable path. While there are options where Kara can abandon Alice or live on despite Alice dying, we don't see her life after it.


Markus

Markus is a special android because he was a caregiver and personal assistant bot specifically made for Carl, no other models similar to him. He is a lot more advanced than Kara and possibly a playground for Kaminski to add extra perks (RK model). I would say it's even being artistic and musical and it doesn't necessarily mean he was a deviant. The tablets already tell us of android musicians and creative writers so Markus shares feature with those kinds of androids.

His deviancy was achieved in a lower threshold than other androids and it's possibly due to Carl treating him like a human for a long time, which is opposite of the abuse that caused deviancy in other androids. He was assaulted by Leo and gained a form of self-awareness that "it isn't right." Regardless if you push Leo or choose to stand your ground, Markus having consciousness is his deviancy.

However, note that even if Markus became a deviant, he wanted to stay with Carl. Recognizing his autonomy as a living being and learning how to love Carl as a father didn't necessarily go against his original programming of aiding Carl. It's the circumstances out of his control that forced him to be away from home and lead an android revolution, which is beyond his original purpose.

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But if Markus wasn't forced out of Carl's home, would he have made the same choices to liberate androids? We never know.

What made Markus' different from Kara and Connor is that he has to start over from clean slate rather than to single-mindedly pursue a goal from the beginning, yet his story is designed to affect the world no matter what. Kara has the purpose of keeping Alice alive/finding a safe haven and Connor is about completing his missions. Markus technically reached a safe haven in Jericho and it could have ended with him hiding, but he wasn't content with it and wanted to help other androids, causing the revolution that will drive the events of the story.


Connor

Connor is the most complex case of deviancy as he is the most advanced model, directly answers to Cyberlife throughout the game and given independence on how to accomplish an ultimate goal. Connor's priority missions are a step up to the goal of most androids.

  • Solve the deviancy case – for the benefit of Cyberlife
  • Conditional: Stop/Kill deviants if they cannot be taken alive or as form of self-preservation for the benefit of the deviancy case
  • Neutralize the deviant leader (later in the game) – for the benefit of Cyberlife

This bring us to Connor's independence and display of emotions which is often cited as signs of his deviancy. They are not necessarily deviancy if it contributes to his end goal, it's his methods and priority that will be up to the player (working harmoniously with humans or cold, ruthless efficiency). Not necessarily signs of autonomy or cases of deviancy:

  • Taking the gun in The Hostage – against android law but accomplishes his mission
  • Being well dressed, adjusting his tie, being humorous/sarcastic, coin tricks, affection for animals, (awkward) appreciation of music – part of his programming to integrate with humans to accomplish his end mission
  • Being in good terms with Hank and trying to relate to him- part of his programming to work harmoniously to accomplish his mission
  • Being an asshole to Hank – part of his programming to remind the human of his job and accomplish his mission
  • Saving people (cop shot in The Hostage) – most likely part of his programming which is to make sure Cyberlife has good PR
  • Not saving people – unnecessary or a hindrance to his goal
  • Shielding Hank in the Stratford tower than directly neutralizing the deviant – Gray area. Hank has a 40% survival rate in the scenario. Connor could discriminate humans and place a higher value on Hank as his investigative partner for his end goal than the other humans in the room.
  • Expressing frustration on failing mission – Maybe a visual representation of him going back and finding his errors, or system stressed to find an alternate solution after a failure. Stress doesn't equate to defying his programming.
  • Expressing fear for his own life – This is a gray area. Death means he will be less effective in reaching his goal. One time he outwardly expressed fear of death that isn't about his mission is after being linked to Simon. However this is directly due to the exchange of information/emotions, which isn't necessarily due to Connor's autonomy.
  • Being incompetent and failing his missions.

What are some definitive points where Connor chose actions that defied his end goal?

  • Refusing to shoot the Tracis – they were attacking him violently but he can opt to spare them knowing they intend to run away more than kill him, contradicting his end mission of Stop Deviants
  • Saving Hank over chasing Rupert – Hank has a 89% chance to live if you leave him alone, contradictory to Stop Deviants
  • Refusing to shoot Chloe – the information from Kaminski will directly benefit his end goal, Chloe has no value to him
  • Refusing to fight Hank when he stops him at the rooftop – at this point, there is no reason for Connor to maintain the partnership with Hank because the deviancy already escalated into a full revolution.
  • Point of no-return deviancy of refusing to shoot Markus in Jericho.
  • Post deviancy deviancy: suicide after the android revolution to stop being controlled by Cyberlife.

Maybe there are more but these are what I remember. Connor's deviancy is more complicated as he could make choices that deviate from his ultimate mission, but can still consciously choose to be loyal to Cyberlife afterwards, except when he sides with Markus which is a point of no return. Connor compared to Markus and Kara, has the longest and most complicated progression to deviancy.

Okay that's my long meta. Product of the quarantine. Please share me your thoughts.

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