A Bad Case of Déjà vu

Thursday 17 November 2016

While making a run against time through the zombie-infested Tall Oaks with his new partner Helena, Leon comments at some point in Resident Evil 6 that he is having "a bad case of déjà vu".

But how much of a déjà vu it actually is? Well it's much more than it seems, as throughout the story of nearly all his campaign, it is like he's having flashbacks of his past adventures. On first level, it's basically from Resident Evil 2, but looking deeper into the details, this flashback goes back to nearly all the events he has lived, witnessed or was connected to so far.

The zombies are the most prominent element of this "déjà vu". There were zombies then in Raccoon City, and there are zombies now, in Tall Oaks. The difference is that back in 1998, Leon had no idea about this kind of situation and pretty much improvised as he went along; while in 2013 he is more than experienced in this field and knows exactly what to do, and when.

In 1998, a pretty clueless young Leon is shooting random zombies in the infested Raccoon City

In 2013, decorated elite agent Leon is forced to shoot his close friend who has become a zombie

When Leon arrived in Raccoon City back in 1998, he found a town inhabited by zombies, and the only other human being was a young girl, Claire Redfield. Together they had to make their way through the nightmare that the once peaceful town had become, and take all means to survive. In Resident Evil 6, the year is 2013 and we see him in the office of the Tall Oaks University, face to face with the President of USA (and his personal friend), freshly turned into zombie, while everyone else in the campus has already had the same fate. The only other human being is a young woman (and, as it turns out soon, also his colleague) Helena Harper. Together they have to escape from the campus and later from the town with dozens of zombies breathing down their necks.

Claire's first meeting with Leon is one she will surely remember for the rest of her life
Helena seems to know way too many things, including Leon's name and identity

Claire arrived at Raccoon City looking for her brother Chris, an officer of a special division of the Raccoon City Police Department, who had disappeared. Helena on the other hand is looking for her sister with whom she has lost contact after both of them became victims of a cunning trap. Claire didn't manage to reunite with Chris until much later, after the events at the Rockfort Island and Antarctica (namely, in Code Veronica), while Helena found her sister quite soon, albeit in a really bad state. The reunion of Claire and Chris had a happy ending, but things didn't work out that well for Helena and her sister.

The reunion of Claire and Chris in Code Veronica is a lovely, touching scene

Helena finds her sister quite soon, but she has nasty surprises awaiting

As Leon and Claire try to find a way to make it safe from the zombies, they spot a police car and they jump in. Back to Tall Oaks, Leon and Helena rush out of the campus and find a police car conveniently parked in a side-street.

Leon and Claire rush in the police car while the zombies gather around them
The police car at the end of the street is again the only salvation

While in the police car, Claire finds a handgun in the glove compartment. In Tall Oaks, Leon searches the glove compartment looking for the keys (there is no need to find an extra gun here, as both he and Helena are both armed already thanks to their status).

Once upon a time, zombified cops would leave their handguns in the police cars

Times change, and now obviously they take them with them leaving the glove compartments empty

It would be naive to believe that in a zombie-infested place you can just drive your car down the street undisturbed. Naturally there is a zombie lurking somewhere, ready to attack at the most inconvenient moment. In Raccoon City, it popped up from the back seat where it was obviously taking a nap. In Tall Oaks, it surprised Leon by showing its face (well, kind of) at the front window.

Now, that's an intrusion of privacy, mister!
How the hell did she get on the roof of the car?

Such a surprise can never have a good result. In Raccoon City, Leon lost control of the car and it crashed on some other cars that were parked in the middle of the street, blocking the way. An oil-transporting vehicle that was being driven by a zombified man came speeding towards the police car, leaving Leon and Claire no other choice than to get out, each from their side. The vehicle crashed on the car, causing a devastating explosion. Leon and Claire, with the fire caused by the explosion between them, decided to make their way separately as they had no other option, and try to meet up at some point. In Tall Oaks, Leon lost control of the car again, causing it to tumble and crash on other parked cars, catching fire. He and Helena managed to get out of the damaged car and continued their way through the sewers.

Claire is at the other side of the flames but it's not a good idea to try to get to her
The car is fubar

The oil-transporting vehicle in Raccoon City that caused all the mayhem and resulted in Leon and Claire separating from each other, had departed from a gas station a few blocks away. It's not unusual to see a gas station in a zombie-themed story; going back to the iconic Night of the Living Dead, the film that defined zombie movies and became the main source of inspiration for zombie games, the gas station there was a major turning point in the plot. In Tall Oaks, Leon and Helena come across a gas station, where a group of survivors are trying to defend themselves against the zombies.

The deserted gas station in Raccoon City

The zombie-infested gas station in Tall Oaks

Among the gas station survivors in Tall Oaks, is a young cop who is a rookie in his very first day. Back in 1998, Leon was a rookie cop on his first day when he arrived at Raccoon City. As we know already, things turned out quite well for Leon after the Raccoon City incident was over, but unfortunately for his colleague in Tall Oaks events took the most tragic twist.

Leon introduces himself to Claire
The Tall Oaks rookie seems to be more clueless than what Leon was back in 1998

As Leon tries to find his way to the Raccoon Police department, he comes across a gun shop. It belongs to Robert Kendo, and it looks like it was a rather popular spot back in the good days. In Tall Oaks, Leon with Helena and the group of survivors find shelter in a gun shop that is near the gas station. They lock themselves in temporarily, trying to fend off the zombies that swarm outside, wanting to get in from the windows.

Leon has just arrived in Kendo's Gun Shop and is posing for a souvenir photo
The Tall Oaks Gun Shop seems to be a zombie attraction

In Raccoon City, Leon has a brief chat with Kendo and then leaves from the back door. However upon trying to get back in, he hears screams and when he re-enters, Kendo is already dead and the zombies that killed him are strolling around the room. In Tall Oaks, the gun shop owner manages to get all the survivors safe up on the roof of the building, from where they all escape via a back ladder and go down to the street, where a friend of his has arrived in a bus. After they all get in the bus, they have some trouble leaving for a few moments, as a huge zombie is blocking the way. During all that mess, a zombie grabs the gun shop owner from a bus window and throws him on the street, where he shares the ill fate of his Raccoon City colleague.

Poor Robert Kendo (right) is lying dead and Leon has to face more zombies

The gun shop owner of Tall Oaks (left) and one more survivor (right) become dinner of the zombies

While exploring the creepy undegrounds of the Tall Oaks Cathedral with Helena, Leon comes across Ada Wong, a most familiar face. Leon had met Ada back in Raccoon City, where she was supposedly dead after she was (seemingly) fatally attacked by a hideous B.O.W. In 2004, he crossed paths with her again in Spain, where he had been sent to locate the kidnapped daughter of the (then) President of the USA (namely, in Resident Evil 4). In all three instances, she never disclosed to him (or to anyone else, for that matter) the real goal of her mission.

Leon with Ada in Raccoon City
Leon with Ada in Spain

In Tall Oaks, Leon and Ada spend a brief sequence of on-screen action together

After the events in Tall Oaks, Leon goes to China with Helena, in pursuit of the story's arch-villain. In the way, he bumps onto Sherry Birkin, whom he had rescued with Claire back in Raccoon City.

Leon with Sherry at the desert railroad after they left Raccoon City with Claire
Leon reunites with Sherry in China, at an airplane crash site, where she had arrived with Jake Muller

A bit later, Leon comes face to face with Chris Redfield, Claire's brother from Resident Evil 2. Chris is leading a team which is chasing another villain, a woman who has stolen Ada's identity and is closely connected to (actually, responsible for) the virus outbreak that hit both Tall Oaks in the USA and Langshiang in China.

Leon makes a deal with Chris before they part ways

When Leon crosses paths with Sherry in China, she is accompanying a young man, Jake Muller, who has antibodies for the C-virus. Sherry is following orders to bring Jake safely back to her boss's headquarters, so that his blood can be tested and used to produce vaccines (or so she's been told; the truth is somewhat different). Jake is a mercenary, and has served in missions in South America. Just like Jack Krauser, Leon's companion in Operation Javier, a mission that took place in 2001. Leon was sent in South America to find a drug dealer that had connections with Umbrella, and Jack Krauser was commissioned to help him cross the mazey jungles of the area. Jack was seriously wounded in that mission, being forced to retire soon after. When that mission was over, Leon was informed that Krauser died in a crash, only to meet him again in Spain in 2004, more alive than ever.

Jake talks to Sherry about his South-American experience as a mercenary
Jack Krauser with Leon in a South-American jungle
The legendary duel of Leon and Jack Krauser in Resident Evil 4

It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that when Leon sees Jake for the first time, he is probably feeling like he just came across a young Jack Krauser in the making, as apart from the profession, Jake Muller and Jack Krauser have even more things in common: their first names sound similar, their surnames sound both like they are of German origin, they share a snake-like gaze and they both have a big scar on the left side of their faces.

Jake is too proud of his scar to go fix it
Jack's scar is much more elaborate and deeper

Even if Leon has never come across Albert Wesker officially, it looks like the super-arch-villain of the Resident Evil saga somehow managed to get involved in Leon's life and profession trials as well: in 2013, Jake Muller is revealed to be  Wesker's son, albeit he's never really met his father. Albert Wesker was the one who, back in 2001, helped Jack Krauser heal from his serious injury by treating him with a virus that gave him superhuman powers. And he was the one who hired Jack in 2004 to murder Leon in Spain.

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