Does Gamora Really Deserve Her Redemption Arc?

Warning!! The following contains spoilers for Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, available now. 

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy locks the team's most powerful moves, Mega Abilities, behind story progression. In order to unleash their full potential, each member has to overcome a fear that has held them back. Peter needs to stop running and face his responsibilities as a leader. Drax has to accept his family's death and move on. Rocket needs to overcome the lingering pain and anxiety of the torture he was subjected to on Halfworld. Groot needs to not be afraid of his own power. For Gamora, she has to admit to a crime she committed against her own family.

While Gamora's fear and resolution seems like it should be as clear-cut as the others, its lead-up is murky at best. Throughout the game, Gamora comments and acts on a need to protect young girls from those who remind her of the way the Mad Titan Thanos mentally and emotionally abused her and Nebula. She ultimately comes clean with the team and reveals that she is the one who killed her sister, thus earning her Mega Ability Executioner. Did this revelation side-step the fact that Gamora gives the memory of Thanos power over her throughout 12 chapters of the game? Or is this revelation her acknowledgment that she hid under Nebula's shadow by blaming Thanos?

Related: One Eternals Character Has a Secret Cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy

Who Is Gamora Trying To Help?

Gamora gets very emotional in Guardians of the Galaxy to the point of being irrational. When the Guardians are on Sacrosanct in chapter five, she runs after Raker in an attempt to extract Nikki from his clutches. She fails, either returning to the Milano with or without one of Raker's arms. In chapter 12, she goes on a rampage after a child is seen becoming a Converted and having Faith energy siphoned from them. Gamora is not just upset that children are being led astray. She acts as if the abuse is happening to her. She seems to live vicariously through these children.

Rocket aptly addresses Gamora's problem when she returns to the Milano at the end of chapter five. He mocks her "daddy issues" and is considered insensitive. Gamora takes personal grievance with the plight of Nikki and children who are Converted. She should be applauded for trying to intervene, but her emotional state makes her intentions unclear. Is Gamora truly helping these girls for their own sake? From her actions, it seems more likely that Gamora is trying to overcome an inner battle while using others to hide from her real problem.

Related: How Guardians of the Galaxy's Mantis Stands Out From Her Comic and MCU Inspirations

The climax of Gamora's inner pain and helplessness comes out in chapter 12. She directly says, "This isn't about Thanos. It's about Nikki and what men like Raker and Thanos do to girls like her. Like me." She then confesses that she killed Nebula.

Gamora admits that she didn't think the rest of the team would want her around if they knew she had killed her sister. The exact word she calls herself is a monster. She is asking them for permission to accept who she is and what she did. Despite his alleged death and her words to the contrary, Gamora still behaves as if Thanos has power over her.

Perhaps her confession about Nebula did justify her earning a Mega Ability. It is, after all, aptly named "Executioner," and Gamora did admit to something she had been hiding from previously. She chased after Raker and the Converted as if she were on a righteous crusade, even though doing so wouldn't bring Nebula back or help her forgive herself. She yells at Peter and Rocket, saying they couldn't understand what Thanos made her do. Gamora hid under the memory of Thanos to avoid taking responsibility for her own actions until she finally cracked in chapter 12 and came clean. By accepting responsibility for her actions, Gamora grew stronger.

Related: Why The Game Awards 2021's Innovation in Accessibility Nominees Earned Their Nods

Deadliest Woman In The Galaxy

Clearly, Gamora still has healing to do, and perhaps the best place she can look for help is from the very person she intended to save. Guardians of the Galaxy draws an interesting parallel between Gamora and Nikki, in that both suffer loss at a young age and are manipulated into making very poor choices. Nikki rejects the death of Ko-Rel and becomes the Matriarch, the vessel for Magus. She willingly buries her head in the sand until Peter starts trashing her dreams to get her to wake up. One of the in-game choices during this pivotal scene is for Peter to trust Nikki. He makes it clear that she is the only one who has the power to break the Promise.

Gamora may not have been under the influence of the Promise when she killed Nebula, but she rejected full responsibility for her action until she came clean with the team about what has truly been bothering her. She chose to define herself as a monster of Thanos until Peter reeled her back in. She needed outside support to accept her role in the atrocities of her past and move past her self-loathing. Gamora earned her Mega Ability, but now she needs to be a good role model for the young Kree who has joined the team. Gamora needs to move out from Thanos', and Nebula's, shadow.

KEEP READING: The Game Awards 2021: Why Guardians of the Galaxy Deserves To Win Best Narrative

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About The Author
Melissa Vach (55 Articles Published)

Melissa is a freelance features writer for CBR's video game division. She enjoys vacationing in Destiny's Shattered Realm and otherwise spends a fair amount of time in the lands of RPGs. Melissa still believes The Legend of Dragoon is one of the best games ever made.

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