Content of the article: "Why the Judge in New Dawn Will Heal (Spoilers for Farcry 5 and New Dawn)"
It's widely accepted that the Judge in New Dawn is the Deputy (player character) from Farcry 5. After spending 6 years locked alone in a bunker with Joseph Seed our Deputy (I'll refer to as he) eventually cracks and becomes an enforcer for Joseph for the next 11 years.
The Deputy feels intense guilt for his actions in the previous game, as Joseph's prediction came true, and may even be convinced that he himself caused the apocalypse. Once they leave the bunker The Deputy becomes the Judge and wears a mask out of guilt of their actions. Throughout the entire game the Judge never speaks nor removes their mask. So why should we think that The Judge would ever heal from their trauma?
- Joseph Seed changed- A few characters remark that the Judge has changed Joseph as much as Joseph has changed the Deputy. Joseph is no longer the insane killer he was in Farcry 5 and is actually nearly a sympathetic character. This seems to have started soon after the two left the bunker with Joseph focused more on taking care of his people rather than forcing them into pure obedience. The Judge is a respected member in this community as well, feared but admired.
- The townsfolk still believe in him- While many of the characters who knew the Judge in the previous game seem more afraid of him than anything, there is a respect that still lasts among them. Carmina (Nick Rye's daughter and the Judge's goddaughter) grew up with stories of the brave Deputy who saved her parents lives and even helped deliver her. She can even be found to remark "I know there's still a bit of the deputy left in you". While Nick Rye and others seem less supportive they've still kept the Deputy's legacy alive. One woman even asks whether the Judge believes that she'll be a good mother. The conversation ends in frustration, but this shows the continued hope for the Judge that these people hold.
- The Judge Cries- The Judge never really speaks, but people speak to him. One encounter with Nana leaves the Judge crying behind his mask. She offers to listen if he ever needs, but the Judge just cries harder. This is a sad moment, but also a hopeful one. This is possibly the first time in years that the Judge has acknowledged his pain. Admitting to himself that there are still things he needs to work out might be the first step for the Judge to reclaim himself. And while Nana does yell at him for groaning all the time, she seems to be open to providing a sort of therapy, an invitation that is always open.
- Joseph Seed Realizes His Own Sins- At the end of New Dawn Joseph Seed begs to be released as the realization of the pain he's caused fully hits him. You can choose to kill him or spare him, but either way his presence in Hope County seems to be over (it's also significant to note that the Judge has no reaction upon Joseph's death). Even if the Judge didn't personally witness Joseph's realization, word would still get around, especially in a community as small as Hope County. Seeing as how Joseph was the one to convince the Deputy that they had committed a grave sin, learning that Joseph Seed himself admitted to being wrong would give the Judge some closure, and a chance to stop feeling such guilt for their actions.
- The Judge's Actions in Farcry 5 did Help Things- While the Judge may feel guilt for destroying bunkers and killing people who may have survived otherwise, these actions were not in vain. Many bunkers were scattered around Hope County and obviously many people survived. By destroying the cult's strongholds the Deputy gave everyone the chance to survive outside of the cult's influence. Nick Rye and his family weren't forced to live in constant torture in John's bunker, and Carmina had the opportunity to grow up with a loving family. Pastor Jerome wasn't forced to give up his faith. Dozens, maybe even hundreds of survivors were spared the torture and brainwashing of the cult. These people's lives are so much better because of the Deputy and the Judge may eventually realize this.
- The Judge doesn't return to the religious community- At the end of the main story when the Judge is not equipped as a follower he will hang out at the bar with the rest of the followers. Not only will separation from the community (and the Bliss) that caused him so much turmoil help clear his mind, the Judge can also be found interacting with the other followers. The Judge might not be speaking but he's opening up to other people, getting out of his own head and enjoying the companionship of others. It's a small step towards recovery, but a significant one.
- The Judge has Many Supportive People Behind Him- While the townsfolk are cold toward the Judge, the absence of Joseph Seed (and the Judge's loyalty to the Captain) they can begin to relax around him. Even if the Judge never speaks (he may not be able to due to damaged vocal chords or possibly missing his tongue) and never removes his mask, the townsfolk will see that their Deputy is slowly returning now that he's been separated from Joseph Seed. They'll be more open towards the Judge, and willing to trust him more. Many interactions throughout the game show that these people still care for the Deputy and want him to 'come home' so to speak. And an important step in any healing process is to have strong support from those around you.
In conclusion the Judge seems to have every chance to undo the brainwashing and heal from the years of trauma he's experienced. The leading cause of their torment, Joseph Seed, is not only gone but has acknowledged his mistakes. Being cut off from the Bliss will clear the Judge's mind and many people are willing to help talk him through his problems (The Judge can communicate by writing presumably). The townsfolk he helped years ago still respect him and would likely be willing to include him in their community (perhaps with a bit of pushing from Carmina in the beginning). The Judge's story is tragic, but it doesn't need to stay that way. Whenever the Judge is ready to start his healing journey, he has a place to go.
A community of people who will welcome him with open hearts.
Please leave comments if you agree. For some reason I'm super concerned with the Judge/Deputy being able to heal and be happy again.
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