The following text was written by proYorp:
An extensive analysis and theory. Estimated reading time: 5 - 10 minutes.
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"You've fallen for it again."Mortimer, at the end of Episode 5, wrote: Dear Billy
You fell for my android duplicate ploy in the Mangling Machine and now you've fallen for it again.
Have you ever thought much about that line?
Mortimer is saying a lot in this first sentence of the note he left in the QED control room. Not only was the so-called Grand Intellect that you faced off against in Episode 3 a fake, but there is another android duplicate as well.
"You've fallen for it again."
Not only that, it's implying that this was someone Keen had previously dealt with, as both references to this "android duplicate ploy" are in the past tense. ("You've fallen for it again.")
Now here's the million-dollar question.
Who was it?
The suspects would be all the characters Keen has met up to this point of the story in "Goodbye, Galaxy."
- The members of the High Counsel.
- Princess Lindsey.
- A council page.
- His parents.
Which of these is the most likely to have secretly been a robot?
The first one that seems somewhat reasonable is the Council Page. He consistently calls Keen the wrong name, which annoys him, and this is something we see Mortimer do-- but hang on. In "Keen Dreams," multiple characters also call him "Captain Keen," so this behavior is not only relative to Mortimer. From a narrative standpoint, it seems more like a running gag.
Perhaps more probable are the Keepers of the Oracle. They have a much more prominent role in the story, plus it is just a little odd how they pretend to have a magical ritual to activate the Oracle when it's really just done by flipping a switch. But which one of them could it be? All of them? And what exactly would that have accomplished for Mortimer, if they really were fakes?
I believe that there is actually another character more likely than any of these. But to explore that idea, we'll have to go deeper than the story itself, into the very production of "Goodbye, Galaxy!"
Originally, "Goodbye, Galaxy!" (episodes 4 & 5) and "Aliens Are My Babysitter!" (episode 6) were planned to be a single cohesive trilogy, and were split apart for business reasons. What is now Episode 6 was actually developed before Episode 5. Who knows what effect this split had on the story between the episodes?
I have a guess. If Episode 6 originally took place before Episode 5, that means the "Mortimer Letter" (as it's called on KeenWiki) could, in theory, reference the events of Episode 6. Meaning we could add any characters appearing in Episode 6 to the list of suspects.
You've already guessed where this is going haven't you? I'm talking about Molly McMire.
Let's do some detective work on Molly, shall we?
First of all, how does Molly know all about Mortimer's plans? She knows "he told the Bloogs to take her hostage," and that "in exchange, he told them where to find the Stupendous Sandwich of Chungella IV." She's not a genius like Mortimer; she's probably never been to space before. How does she know the names of all these extraterrestrial people and places? Seems like just a little too many details to learn while tied up on the way to a space prison.
Secondly, let's think about the logistics of actually creating an android double. It would have to be accurate enough to pass as the real person, at least according to Mortimer's standards. The one in the Mangling Machine clearly was.
Out of all the characters in the Keeniverse that Mort could try to make a duplicate of, probably the most accurate imitation he could make, besides himself, would be his own sister. We don't know anything about their relationship, but they are siblings and it is extremely likely that they are around each other enough that Mort could pick up a lot of Molly's mannerisms, which he could then imitate.
Now that Keen knows Mortimer is alive, well, and up to no good, he needs a lead on where to look for him. And maybe he already has one.
Molly gave Keen three brand-new pieces of information: Mortimer is alive and scheming, he told the Bloogs to kidnap her, and he told them where to find the Stupendous Sandwich of Chungella IV.
Now I have a hunch that this is what Keen is thinking. "Chungella IV, eh? If Mortimer knew where to find this Stupendous Sandwich, he must have some connection there!"
Which might be just exactly what Mortimer wants him to think.
Chungella IV is the only planet in the Keen series that is mentioned but not shown. I would bet my bottom dollar that this is where the first episode of "The Universe is Toast!" would take place.
Now this is getting pretty deep into assumption territory, but bear with me a bit. Imagine the possibilities here. Out of all the possible ways this could go, there is a considerable chance that Chungella IV could be a trap (quite similarly to the plot of "The Keys of Krodacia"), or even just "a big distraction." And if-- if this was the case, that would definitely be a reason that Mortimer would've wanted to use Molly as a clone, to trick Keen into playing right into his trap.
- Molly has suspiciously high knowledge of Mortimer's doings and extraterrestrial information.
- Mortimer could easily create an imitation of Molly, which most likely would be more accurate than one of any of the other characters.
- And, if the Molly that we talk to was indeed an android duplicate, we can deduce a potential reason why Mortimer would want to use such a clone.
All this in mind, Molly seems vastly more likely to be the other android duplicate than any of the other characters.
Of course, in this timeline, it doesn't quite make sense that the Mortimer Letter would refer to Molly, since Keen 6 currently takes place after the mission to the Omegamatic. However, if it was the idea all along to have Molly be a fake, then it seems reasonable to guess that this aspect of the story may not have been changed....
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Epilogue: Alternate Galaxy
Going back to the idea that "Goodbye, Galaxy!" and "Aliens Ate My Babysitter!" were originally a single trilogy and in a different order, let's take a stab at trying to piece together how the story was supposed to go.
Let's say the order was 4, 6, 5. This is the purported order of production, according to 3D Realms.
Perhaps the events of Episode 4 transpire roughly the same, but before Keen has a chance to confront the Shikadi, somehow he finds out that Molly has been kidnapped. He is forced to rescue her.
Afterwards, she tells him about Mortimer's plan. I believe that in this version of the story, the plan that Molly tells Keen about is not to destroy the Universe (as it is now), but the Galaxy. This likely causes Keen to realize that the Shikadi plot is headed by Mortimer.
After the Omegamatic is disabled, you find the note left by Mortimer, in its current form, and Keen really does read it on the long journey home, which leads right into "The Universe is Toast!"
Or say the order was 6, 4, 5. There is some evidence in the Keen 6 manual that its story was written first (Keen working on his "new" ComputerWrist).
You would rescue Molly before hearing anything about Shikadi, and in fact it would be Molly who initially alerts Keen to a plot to destroy the Galaxy.
Unfortunately, each of these variants would raise many questions of their own. If "Aliens Ate My Babysitter" took place in the middle of "Goodbye, Galaxy," why would Keen drop everything just to rescue Molly? If the Galaxy gets blown up, so does she....
If "Aliens Ate My Babysitter" were to take place first, would Molly still mention Chungella IV? If so, why wouldn't Keen try to check that place out first of all? Perhaps she mentions Korath III instead, but then why would Keen still go to the Oracle for information? (Even still, this version probably has the smallest amount of logical problems that I can think of.)
Plus there's still the issue with the current timeline: why does the Mortimer Letter state that Keen has fallen for another android duplicate, when the encounter most likely to be with such has yet to happen?
It's hard to say exactly how much the split of the episodes impacted, dare I say corrupted, the story.
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Well, don't let me do all the talking! What do you think? Have any points or counterpoints? Evidence for or against any of this? I'd be very interested to see a theory discussion.
What amazes me is that everyone knows about Mortimer's android dummy in the Mangling Machine, yet I don't think I've ever seen a single mention about the implication of a second one....
A Look Back at Commander Keen -- 3D Realms
"Keen Dreams" help story text
"Secret of the Oracle" help story text; end story text
"The Armageddon Machine" end story text; secret ending
"Aliens Ate My Babysitter!" manual/scrolling story; end story text