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I'm going to be doing some very brief posts regarding the cast of Resident Evil 6 from a faux-analytical point-of-view. I'll be focusing on Leon Scott Kennedy, Helena Harper, Chris Redfield, Piers Nivans, Jake Muller, Sherry Birkin, and Ada Wong (and perhaps Derek C. Simmons). These are just my opinions. Be warned, I will be touching about SPOILERS.
As part of a little side project, I've decided to add some other quotes from outside sources that I basically think would apply to the character in some way. Take from it what you will.
The last bastion of Albert Wesker's legacy, mercenary Jake Muller has a lot riding on his shoulders. With what his father left him behind with, there is a large amount to live up to for someone so vastly different than his father. Although Jake fills a very suitable anti-hero role, he is the character that shows the largest degree of influence and change based upon his surroundings and environment in the entirety of the cast. Like Chris and Piers, Jake acts as an antithesis of sorts - to start - with his partner, Sherry Birkin. The strange sort of symbiotic relationship is also mirrored in that, in this case, it is the "partner character" that is relied upon to influence the bad deeds of the main character and hope that they rethink their path.
"I hope you haven't forgotten about my fifty million dollars."
"All right, first thing's first. Two hundred thousand up front, another two hundred when this is over. And the B.O.W.s? Those are extra."
It would be fair to say that, to begin with, it would seem that Jake has no real side or agenda. When we first find him, he is caught in the middle of a civil war that he has no business being in, as far as we know. As a mercenary, he goes where he pleases and follows the largest trail of money. The importance of money in Jake's lifestyle could be perceived as admirable to some, but it does little to change the fact that Jake gets by on selling his allegiance to whoever has the biggest wallet. In most cases, this would make the individual extremely unpredictable to a frightening degree. In the case of someone who operates solely on a paycheck, one has to be worried - edgy, even - if he would just as soon turn on his current objective for a bigger payday. As it turns out, this is exactly what Jake does. When presented with a more profitable opportunity from the U.S. government by Sherry Birkin, he jumps at the offer. Though this might also be a bit understandable, as there is the whole issue of seeing his former temporary comrades mutating into horrific monstrosities from the same "supplement" that ends up gifting him with super strength.
"Are you kidding? I get a kick out of this."
"Hey, shit-for-brains! Over here!"
As to be expected from someone who drifts from spot to spot, selling his skills in combat, it is no surprise that Jake comes across as someone that is often violent and aggressive. Most notably, he has the very unfortunate (for Sherry) tendency to egg people on. Particularly, people that are trying to kill them. He has no shortage of insults and retorts for people and creatures, both, that stand in their way. Needless to say, these insults and retorts are characterized with a heavy degree of profanity, namely referring to people as "assholes." Muller also demonstrates his expectancy of violence when he immediately moves in on Leon when he believes Leon might be a danger, going so far as to shove Leon away forcefully. How much of this Jake really enjoys is questionable as noted by his conversation, however brief it is, with Helena while fighting the Ustanak. When making an off-handed remark about his enjoyment of the fights, he is met with a question of his sanity though it stands to reason that Jake was just as likely making another sarcastic remark. Though, it wouldn't be surprising if he also found some enjoyment in it with how much he's dedicate himself to committing violence for monetary gain.
"Man, everywhere you look there's more of these assholes. Sucks being so popular."
"More like an ex-girlfriend. Guy doesn't know when to quit."
Balancing his aggression strongly is Jake's penchant for making jokes and lightening the mood. However, quite unsurprisingly, he seems to do this most often when in a heated encounter. It's possible that his tendency to "crack wise" about his situation, his comrades, or even his enemies is a way of trying to maintain some sense of sanity in the face of how much violence he has likely seen. On the other hand, a lack of sanity - as pointed out by Helena Harper - could be a likely suspect to his behavior as well. Considering his willingness to emotional feelings, this seems a bit less likely, however it is still questionable in general. Despite the typicality of his humor's occurrences, his remarks always seem to be mostly light-hearted even in the face of a grim reality. This speaks tremendously favorably in his mentality, fortunately enough. His nature of quick-witted quips consumes him in a reactionary state that likely was built up over time to make sure that nobody ever got a chance to get past it with how little time he likely spent with people.
Compassion and Love
"Sorry, I didn't mean to..."
"Does he know Wesker was my father?"
Greed, violence and inappropriate comedic timing aside, Jake is not a bad person. Everything he does, he does for a reason. The greed and desire for fast cash comes from and overdeveloped sense of responsibility, raised by a single-parent in a harsh childhood of poverty and starvation where it became near-impossible to fend for oneself. To escape this defenseless position, Jake pursued a life of violence - the one profession that will always be needed no matter where you go. By ensuring his status as an aggressive mercenary, Jake assured himself a future - and by extension, likely a future for his mother. The defensive nature of his sarcasm is, as mentioned, likely an attempt to keep himself emotionally distanced from as many people as possible. This only becomes an necessity when one is still capable of love and compassion as Jake is. From the start, Sherry acts as the hammer meant to crack Jake's shell open and help him evolve into the person he is truly capable of being instead of just getting by on what is an easy solution.
I was immediately taken with Jake when I first saw him in the reveal trailer. I always have a soft spot for the joker types, and the more that was revealed the more engaging of a character he became. Aside from Ada, Jake is the one with the strongest air of mystery about him and the one most likely to show a degree of evolution. The majority of the rest of the cast needs to do little to change as their personalities are set and revolve around them. However much like Chris, Jake's story seems likely to revolve around the prospect of change. As mentioned by Capcom, Sherry Birkin is meant to be the catalyst that finally drives home all of those things Jake - as a human being - is missing to make him "whole." The whole point seems to be to make Jake feel and be vulnerable. This opening is what is necessary for Jake to take up a mantle as a new major/main protagonist for the rest of the series, as I believe he will become.
"''Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita, Mi ritrovai per una selva oscura, Che la diritta via era smarrita. When I had journeyed half of our life's way, I found myself within a shadowed forest, for I had lost the path that does not stray.
— Dante Alighieri
"The ultimate choice for a man, in as much as he is given to transcend himself, is to create or destroy, to love or to hate."
— Erich Fromm
"It was once said that love is giving someone the ability to destroy you, but trusting them not to."
Look, kids. The bus came back. Fifteen years later, the daughter of William and Annette Birkin surfaces and is made extremely more significant than before. Albeit she is the partner character, much like Piers Nivans, she is the entire driving force of the pair. She is put there to ask the questions that Jake doesn't want to answer, but make him face them regardless. Likely mixed with her own degree of involvement in the overall story of the global outbreaks/attacks, Sherry seems to arguably be one with the most potential in the entirety of the plot.
"My dad was a scientist. He was working on B.O.W.s when I was exposed. Luckily, I was treated with the vaccine before it was too late, but the virus adjusted and adapted. It's been a part of me ever since."
Coming from a broken home doesn't mean a damn thing to Sherry Birkin. Looking at the professional and highly skilled and trained D.S.O. agent, it would be hard to believe that she has arguably had the worst history of any character in the series, especially in the face of her somewhat cheery disposition. Despite the fact that both of her parents died horribly in the events of Raccoon City, the entire ordeal only acts as a driving force for Sherry. Since her youth, she has become more determined than most. For her, the harsh past isn't a crutch - it's a stepping stone. Going through the horrors of the Raccoon Outbreak, and the people she met, gave her the strength that she needed to bring her to where she is today. It is something that she will never forget, and whereas normally that is something you would need to talk to a psychiatrist about (and probably heavily medicate yourself), Sherry turns it into pure and unadulterated strength.
Responsibility and Resolve
"You're not taking Jake!"
"I'm not going to let anything happen to you, the world needs you!"
Sherry Birkin has learned from two of the best. As she tells Jake, Leon Scott Kennedy and Claire Redfield ended up impacting her life hugely after being saved from the events of Raccoon. Becoming her very best friends, she pushes herself to live up to their example. This instills a very strong sense of justice and responsibility in Sherry. Although her faith in certain things, such as her boss Derek C. Simmons, becomes questioned later on, for the most part Sherry remains unwavering. Instead of the revelation of Simmons' involvement, it seems less like it breaks her stalwart resolve and strengthens it as it gives her a new purpose, not unlike how she handled the death of her parents and the Raccoon City incident. The young girl puts a lot of weight upon her shoulders but most surprisingly it's a weight that she always seems capable of balancing. Rarely does she stagger or falter... except maybe when it comes to a little human interaction that's a bit too uncomfortable.
"Too bad the fall didn't knock the wise-ass out of you."
"Leon's not just anyone. He saved my life back in Raccoon City."
To great for chance, Sherry finds herself partnered with the son of one of her father's closest friends and scientific partner. However, the dynamic goes in a completely different spot than that of their parents. Whereas it is likely that Birkin and Wesker worked together, Sherry and Jake more work off of each other. Sherry shows she is fully capable of keeping up with Jake in every regard from combat to even his smart-alecky mouth. Like the relationship between Piers and Chris (as mentioned previously), Sherry is present to provide a much-needed balance to Jake. In place of his aggressive sarcasm, Sherry brings the more assertive compassion to the table. This has a more interesting affect against each other than could really be anticipated. Their difference in personalities doesn't clash in the typical way, causing conflict between the two characters. Instead, it seems to have the strange property of blending as they adapt to each other and learn from each other... or rather, most of the learning seems to be Jake learning from Sherry.
"The people who saved me, Leon and Claire, are the closest friends I've ever had."
"They risked their lives for me back in Raccoon City. I guess I'm still just trying to live up to their example- never giving up no matter the odds."
As Jake's balance, Sherry is there to instill him everything that he is missing. Jake is personified as a lone wolf in a sense. Even though it seems likely that his intentions are for a good reason, he goes out of his way to distance himself from anything substantial. Sherry, however, is the very embodiment of love and compassion, the one thing that Jake seems unable to face up to or admit. Seen very early on, Sherry speaks of her experiences openly to Jake and surprisingly she clearly has an affect on him, something that Jake undoubtedly did not expect. As Sherry speaks of her admiration of the people she looks up to and the bonds she's formed with her closest friends, Leon and Claire, Jake is surprisingly more receptive than dismissive. Although Sherry's job was to bring Jake back safe and sound to save the world in some regard, Sherry may unintentionally end up saving Jake in the process.
I was disinterested and perhaps a little... apprehensive at first when I realized the blonde-haired character was Sherry Birkin. Eventually my mind opened up to the possibilities that could arise from having her and the son of Albert Wesker interacting. It held promise. It wasn't until I saw more of their interactions as characters, and Sherry's capability of holding her own as part of the main cast, that I finally became sold on her presence. Just as Sherry is there to help Jake ease into the prospect of becoming one of the new main cast members for the series, I imagine that - depending on how she is received - she will also be taking a spot in the future of the Resident Evil series alongside Piers Nivans and Jake. Albeit I would've never admitted it before, I think it's a task that Sherry can hold up to and would make an excellent third personality alongside Jake and Piers to give a fresh perspective to the series.
"Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul And sings the tune without words And never stops - at all"
— Emily Dickinson
"Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it. My optimism, then, does not rest on the absence of evil, but on a glad belief in the preponderance of good and a willing effort always to cooperate with the good, that it may prevail. I try to increase the power God has given me to see the best in everything and every one, and make that Best a part of my life."
— Helen Keller
"Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of its trouble, attempts what is above its strength, pleads no excuse for impossibility, for it thinks all things are lawful for itself and all things are possible."
— Thomas A. Kempis
Expect Ada Wong and, hopefully, Derek C. Simmons next.