Mass effect 3 ending spoilers here.

So the kid in the ending states that the whole Reapers thing is to cull Organic life to save the Galaxy from Synthetics taking over. But until that point there's no indication that Synethics actually do this except for the Reapers (Ironic) that I'm aware of. I didn't play ME 1 or 2 however. The Geth were proven to be peaceful and acted defensively when you go through the Quarian Homeworld part, unless it was a fabrication.

So...what evidence exists of Synthetics actually being bad, or is this (another) plot hole?

2 Answers 2


The way the child phrases things, it's not an issue of "who?", but an issue of "we can't take that chance".

Back before the Reapers, presumably, some civilization built a synthetic civilization, and it went rogue. The response to this was to prevent any civilization from ever advancing far enough to build a synthetic civilization again.

The Reaper Child isn't looking at any one thing in particular and saying, "That's bad, we should kill it", but rather, "Everything has the potential to do bad things, so we should preemptively kill it".

The problem in many minds, is that evidence in the Mass Effect series points to the opposite - the fact that the Quarian / Geth resolution can even exist seems to fly right above the head of our spectral reaper-child. Not to mention the literal anthropomorphization of EDI, and her interactions with Shepard and joker. The only evidence the player has had up until this point of a synthetic enemy threat, is the Reapers themselves.

The only evidence that the Catalyst's final solution is necessary... was engendered by the Catalyst itself.

Or, in Xzibit's words...

enter image description here

It physically pains me to type this canon.

  • I think that meme is an unfair characterization. It's not so "YOU" won't be killed by synthetics, it's so that organic life a a whole won't be completely wiped out. The individual species themselves are inconsequential. Still, the logic behind it is... rather weak.
    – Sterno
    Commented Mar 18, 2012 at 3:32
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    @Sterno The problem is that the game presents a theoretical scenario where Synthetics attempt to wipe out all organic life -- except the only mention of such things in the entire canon are the Reapers themselves. Ben asked for evidence, and there is none. The meme is a tongue-in-cheek jab at the thin logic you yourself mention. Commented Mar 18, 2012 at 3:43
  • The Catalyst had 5 minutes to explain a few billion years worth of events. I'm sure some details were glossed over for the sake of brevity.
    – CaulynDarr
    Commented Mar 18, 2012 at 4:18
  • @CaulynDarr That's the point. They were glossed over. We will never know. Commented Mar 18, 2012 at 4:21
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    No, but the lack of details is what prompted the question in the first place. We don't see billions of years of cycles. We see 3. Commented Mar 18, 2012 at 5:40

The Catalyst was making a cold calculated action when it created the cycle. It decided that organic life was valuable and should be preserved, but organic life would eventually create synthetic life in the course of it's development. If organic life created synthetic life on it's own terms, this could lead to chaos and the destruction of all organic life. Not a certainty, but a possibility given the chaotic nature of organics.

The solution that the catalyst came up with was sort of a controlled burn of organic life. It created the reapers to cull the advanced civilizations that could create its own synthetic life and preserve it as reapers. This allowed something of the old civilizations to live on, and new civilizations could prosper.

It's a rational machine mind imposing order on an irrational organic system. Like when we build a zoo and mimic animals' natural habitats in little managed pieces. You have lions and gazelles within 20 yards of each other, but you keep the lions from eating the gazells. The natural order is for the lions to eat the gazells, but, if you do, you have no more gazells.

As anyone who's seen or read Jurassic Park knows, you can't impose order on chaos forever. Organic life was able to overcome the reapers by progressively constructing the Crucible over countless cycles. Shepard is given the choice of how to end the cycle, but the choices all require a great sacrifice.

I think people don't like the ending because they where expecting a space opera ending with dancing ewocks and force ghosts of all you fallen crew mates nodding approvingly. Instead we got a more typical literary sci-fi ending.

Let's face it, the real ending has generated far more thought and discussion than it would have if the ending was Shep and Liara sipping margareetas on a beach.

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    This is well-written, but it doesn't quite answer the question, in my opinion. Ben is looking for the evidence of why The Catalyst implemented this plan, not necessarily the why itself. Commented Mar 18, 2012 at 3:42
  • The Geth are a good example. If not for Shepard, the Geth would have wiped out the Quarians. Jarvik even mentions how the Protheans wared with their own synthetics. The Catalyst didn't want to chance a race not being able to prevail over their own creation.
    – CaulynDarr
    Commented Mar 18, 2012 at 4:09
  • Not quite - the Geth drove the Quarians away and then basically stuck to Rannoch - the whole reason the two groups are back at war in the first place is that the Quarians didn't like the fact that they lost. (And the footage on Rannoch implies the first war with the geth started with a Quarian civil war of sorts, with the Geth originally rising to arms only to protect their creators). A further wrinkle if you consider that the only reason they stopped winning was the Reaper and Reaper code. Commented Mar 18, 2012 at 4:19
  • But it does show that in the setting synthetics ans organics inevitably come into conflict. Because this one had a happy ending, doesn't mean they all will. In the catalyst's reasoning, it's probably the probability of synthetics wiping out organics was enought to start the cycle.
    – CaulynDarr
    Commented Mar 18, 2012 at 4:47
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    The ending has certainly inspired more thought than what was put into it.
    – kotekzot
    Commented Mar 18, 2012 at 8:26

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