Major spoilers for Bioshock Infinite and its DLC, Burial at Sea. Didn’t watch/play? DON’T READ! Disclaimer: I am basing this off what is in the game/DLC – nothing more. If the Infinite developers have come forth with more concrete information, please let me know in the comments!
Burial at Sea’s Elizabeth is a stone-cold fox. There has been some criticism that this doesn’t seem quite like her – the detached, frosty woman we meet in BaS is different than the warm-hearted teenager of Infinite – but I never thought that BaS Elizabeth was out of character. In fact, I would argue it’s the most in-character thing for her to do.
Levine confirmed that this Elizabeth is ours from Infinite – so this is the same girl who ran from Booker when he killed Comstock’s police, but also the same girl who killed Daisy Fitzroy with scissors to save a little boy’s life. I think the innocent, violence-fearing Elizabeth was gone before Infinite even ended. She wanted Comstock dead, and she wanted to do it with her own hands. (She also threatened you with a tornado. That girl is such a badass motherfucker.)
That’s one of the reasons why Elizabeth’s behavior in BaS makes so much sense. Elizabeth can hold her own as an actress (that poor gallery owner didn’t know what hit him), but the hatred bred from being manipulated, tortured and brain-washed can’t be contained in her interactions with Rapture’s Comstock. I think a key reason why Elizabeth is so cold is because she knows who this “Booker DeWitt” really is – and she knows what he has done. If he proves himself to still be Comstock deep down, then he has a price to pay.
From what I can tell, (and please let me know if you feel otherwise) what seems to be most disconcerting to some gamers/viewers is Elizabeth’s anger. But put yourself in her shoes: this is a girl who has been isolated and raised by a fanatical prophet so that she will destroy humanity. Then she is saved by a troubled, former gambler with whom she develops a close friendship. But wait! It turns out that this man is her real father, the one who sold her to that prophet to pay for his gambling debt. I like Elizabeth, but she is not a paragon of forgiveness and saint-like kindness. (Remember Lady Comstock?)
In other words, she’s a real (make-believe) human being, and I don’t know about you, but as a real human being too I would be extremely pissed off.
I’m not saying she’ can’t forgive. There’s no denying that Elizabeth appreciates that Booker is remorseful (it could be even argued that our Elizabeth lets another version of herself drown him, because it would be too painful to do it herself — another blog post!) but reconciling the Booker she knows with the Booker who gambled her away is not something she or most people can get through in fifteen minutes. There’s got to be a lot of anger and resentment there, even if she won’t aim it at our Booker.
We met Elizabeth when she was young, sheltered and innocent. (And adorable.) She didn’t even know she was the Lamb of Columbia or that Comstock was supposed to be her father. Elizabeth in BaS knows everything. Elizabeth in BaS isn’t Elizabeth from the tower because Elizabeth has finally had to grow up.