Jill's Lobster

Sunday 20 February 2022

There has been a lot of speculation and theories about Jill Valentine's love life, as is the case anyway with most fictional heroes and heroines who do not appear to have a predetermined or potential partner or match; although Jill has always been a very special case, since she has more often than not been depicted as someone who mostly focuses on her work and her duties, leaving little - if at all - space for anything else in her life. There is a general conception, which is extremely popular among fans - and quite possibly this also appeals to members of the Resident Evil development teams - that Jill has feelings for Chris Redfield and vice versa; Chris, however, always seems even more focused on duties and work than Jill, and we never had the chance to see him dealing with anything directly connected to the game of love, at least as far as his female partners are concerned. 

Jill is the main protagonist of Resident Evil 3, a game that recently underwent a revamped remake which may have failed to do justice to certain aspects of the original, what with the omission of emblematic puzzles and iconic environments, but on the other hand it offered a lot of character-related insight, focusing on its protagonists, deuteragonists and antagonists in a way that shed light on their personalities, thus highlighting their motives, intentions and actions a lot more. The game itself, as concept, story and development, seems rather straightforward and easy to follow, but in fact it has traits that give it an identity that is quite different from other titles of the saga. Jill finds herself in a nightmarish, zombie-ridden Raccoon City, just having lost Brad, her only ally, in an overall hostile environment. She is forced to work with a group of soldiers who belong to Umbrella, the company that Jill knows very well and is aware of their evil doings. As the story proceeds, Jill realizes that most of the soldiers are clean and completely ignore the truth about Umbrella - except for one. 

If you think about it, the condition in Resident Evil 3 is the opposite of Resident Evil 1, the other game where Jill was a protagonist: in the first game, Jill had to work with her team mates, all of whom she unquestionably trusted until one of them turned out to be a traitor. In Resident Evil 3, she begins by mistrusting and hating her unlikely partners, until she finds out that most of them are trustworthy. In both cases, she is part of a group of people one of whom at the end proves to be a traitor, but while in Resident Evil 1 they are all innocent until one of them stands out as the bad guy, in Resident Evil 3 they are all guilty until the innocent ones become known and only one of them remains on the antagonist side. Before all this happens though and she learns to respect and trust the soldiers that deserve it, Jill has to fight alone, always reminding herself that what she is doing is for the sake of the civilians whom she wants to secure. It is one of the not so usual cases in the Resident Evil saga where the protagonist is completely by themselves, in a setting where they believe everyone is working against them. Claire in Code Veronica had Steve as an ally right from the start; Leon in Resident Evil 4 had Ashley, Luis, and even Ada in the background. Claire and Leon in Resident Evil 2 had each other, Chris in Resident Evil 5 had Sheva and Josh, Ethan in Resident Evil 7 had Zoe Baker. It is not before several unfortunate events happen that Jill realizes she can actually trust the three out of the four people in her group - although sadly one of them is killed as soon as she finds out that he is clean. 

This takes place in a very pivotal sequence of events, where in fact more revelations also are made. Jill goes with Carlos down to the subway platform, after having restored the power and temporarily defeated the ferocious Nemesis. This instance is the one and only in the whole game where all the members of Jill's group appear together, so technically it is the best time for everything to come into place. Earlier, Jill had found out by chance that Nikolai is a ruthless, cruel man, and she probably suspected already that his role in the group was anything but honest. But as soon as the train departs, she witnesses a brief dialogue among him and Mikhail, the leader of the group, which reveals two things: one, it proves that Nikolai is indeed a traitor, and two, it clearly shows that Mikhail is on the side of the good guys, therefore one more that could be trusted.

Mikhail's subsequent and violent death, however, sadly limits that side to only two people, Carlos and Tyrell. The latter, being a good friend and partner for Carlos, gained Jill's respect almost automatically, during the aforementioned pivotal scene, moments before the train set off its dramatic route, thanks to the more than obvious friendly and trusty interaction between Carlos and him. As for Carlos, Jill had already changed her heart about him; surely her unmistakable instinct had made her trust him soon enough, but on the one hand she did not want to admit it to herself and on the other, she definitely wanted to be one hundred per cent sure before allowing him to see that she viewed him in a positive light. 

For a character like Jill, who goes through such tough and morale-challenging situations on a regular basis, things like flirting and romancing are more or less secondary. Carlos's early attempts to awkwardly flirt her, albeit out of time and place, all fall through because, like he confesses to Tyrell at some point, Jill "is not like anybody", probably referring to all the girls he had known up to then, who would easily fall for a silly, stereotypical flirting. Quite possibly Jill's view of a romantic lover filters through his overall attitude concerning loyalty, trust and bravery, but even after this "test" is clear, maybe it is not enough to own her heart. In Carlos's case, though, this unorthodox, atypical test has double value. Not only he proves that he is clean and trustworthy, but he is also someone his employers can rely on, since, until he has blatant proof that they are rotten, remains loyal to them, something that, however, does not prevent him from going against their wishes when he realizes their evil intentions. 

We never had the chance to know what happened in Jill's life after the events in Raccoon City, until we unexpectedly learned about her presumed death in Resident Evil 5. Through a dramatic flashback story, we got to know that, during a nasty encounter with Wesker in Spenser's estate, Jill attempted to save Chris's life by pushing her former captain out of a high window, but she fell all the way down together with him in the process. She remained presumed dead for a while, but Chris found her later alive and heavily brainwashed by Wesker. He was forced to fight with her before finally being able to release her of Wesker's control and bring her back to her senses. After that incident was over, however, we lost her again - save for an appearance in the overcrowded and rather chaotic Revelations

The remake of Resident Evil 3 ends with Jill and Carlos leaving the bombarded Raccoon City for good on a helicopter, and Jill giving an oath to herself to stop Umbrella's evil plans. In the original, however, there is a bonus end screen showing Jill and Carlos gazing at the ocean from a ship, at what could probably be an off-duty holiday escape for the two of them. Could this mean that, after the events in Raccoon City, they met again and maybe bonded romantically together? This could have been an indication back then, which may have not been included in the remake, but there is something else to consider in the new version of the game, that has a similar nuance.

In one episode of the popular sitcom Friends, Phoebe, a character who is notorious for her outrageous way of thinking, tries to prove to the others that two of their common friends, Ross and Rachel, are in fact destined to be together. To do so, she describes how the pairs of lobsters mate, getting tied to each other with unbreakable bonds until the end of their lives, concluding later that Ross is Rachel's lobster. Although this whole lobster theory has little to do with reality, it soon became a standard joke in popular culture, being often featured in media as an easter egg, like so many things today. In the pivotal scene on the underground platform in Resident Evil 3, just as the train is about to depart, Jill expresses her worries about this maybe being the subway's last route. Mikhail then assures her that the train will be back again to collect more civilians. Although Jill is honestly concerned about the latters, part of her worries are directed towards Carlos, who has orders to go to the Police Department with Tyrell. Carlos tells her that he doesn't plan to leave her "in a cold, cruel Carlos-less world", while just to the side of him there is the poster of a local restaurant, Jim's Crabs. The poster depicts a huge lobster, with the name of the species in big lettering below it. This could be random, but it could very well be an easter egg, hinting that Carlos is in fact Jill's lobster.

Under that light, we can see Jill's long absence with a different perspective. Obviously she did take part in missions and went on with her police work, but maybe she did find love with Carlos, after all. Given that we haven't heard of Carlos all this time either, it could be that Jill helped him free himself from Umbrella and offered him shelter for a while, before he would be safe again to go on with his life, this time by her side.

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