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Red Dead Redemption 2: The Missing Clue to Micah Being a Rat from the Start

by Tony Nash

(Spoilers Ahead)

(All Opinions are of the Author Alone)

RDR2 Fan Art (from Polygon)

Author’s Note: I knew of the RDR2 Story long before ever having actually played the game, so there will be some spoilers here. So for anyone who might be interested in playing the game, please don’t read this until you play through the game. For anyone who likes reading my thoughts on the many things I write about and not minding hearing spoilers, please continue on and enjoy.

RDR2 Promotion Art (from Fanatical)

For anyone who’s familiar with the Old West game Red Dead Redemption, it’s learned the dubious Micah Bell had betrayed the gang headed by Dutch van der Linde and Arthur Morgan. Arthur and much of the other gang, especially Sadie Adler and John Marston had their suspicions about Micah for a long while, but never had proof to prove their doubts true.

A popular theory among fans of the game is that Micah had intentions to implode the gang from the inside long before being caught by the Pinkertons after the gang escaped the Plantation Revolution in Guarma. Most of these theories are mainly guesses, going by Micah’s personality and background, how he would contradict himself in his recollections of past criminal actions, behaving totally different when with the gang, and of course his self distance from everyone and remaining a loner. How I came to my realization that Micah was plotting the gang’s demise long before being pressured by the Pinkertons is a key piece of dialogue in the game’s opening chapter that most players and theorists have seemed to overlook.

Dutch [on his rivalry with Colm O’Driscoll]: Some things I can forgive, others I can forget. What he did to Annabelle, I can’t do neither.

Arthur: You killed his brother, Dutch.

Dutch: Yes, I did.

(From Red Dead Redemption II – Chapter 1: Colter , part 3 Outlaws from the West)

Now taking into account his unusual romance with Irish spitfire Molly O’Shea, Dutch seems to have a thing for women of the upper echelons of society with a love of adventure, danger, and excitement. I believe this woman Annabelle was of a similar background to Molly, but unlike his relationship with Molly, Dutch seemed to have really loved Annabelle, and possibly even thought about asking her to be his wife.

Arthur & Micah Shooting it Out Against the Enemy (from Forbes)

My belief, and will even call it a theory to be fair as I’m basing it on what I know from the game, is that Annabelle’s friends and family from her life before Dutch got word of her murder at the hands of Colm O’Driscoll, but instead of going after O’Driscoll, someone in the brood decided Dutch was the one who got Annabelle killed, and very likely swore to make Dutch pay. This individual or group finally found their key to Dutch’s demise in the form of outlaw Micah Bell. Bell was already known as a brutal and efficient thief and killer, so naturally he seemed the perfect person to take Dutch down.

Dutch, Arthur, John, Micah, and the Gang (from Variety)

I believe this person or group offered Micah quite a hefty sum of money to tear down Dutch’s gang from the inside because Micah had always described himself in what little dialogue he engaged in with other gang members of his preference for being quick, quiet and efficient in a job with no loose ends to worry about. Micah’s shooting up of the town of Strawberry, the Blackwater Ferry Massacre and much of the other schemes he suggests to Dutch are clearly not his usual M.O., particularly in that Micah always professed an efficient outlaw tries to bring as little attention to himself as possible, all pointing to the idea part of his job for this unnamed individual or group close to the late Annabelle is to make as much noise as possible by whatever means he can at whatever cost.

Still of the Town of Valentine (from PCGamean)

Now of course Dutch’s out of control thought process thanks to the Blackwater Massacre makes Micah’s mission a little easier, but the question still is what exactly happened to seal everyone’s fate towards the end of the main story. Micah clearly at some point decided he was gonna double-cross whoever was paying him, though those reasons remain unclear and many, ranging from Micah starting to naturally like Dutch and wanting to make him see his true potential as a criminal to Micah seeing potential in members like Arthur Morgan, John Marston, and even Sadie Adler as effective and prosperous criminals themselves and to join Micah in a new gang, or Micah simply wanting to usurp a lead role from somebody in the gang for his own reasons. It’s most likely Micah’s having been nabbed by the Pinkertons began the decline of this original job. Micah may have had to tell the Pinkertons what he was doing to avoid going to jail, and possibly this caused a powerplay between Micah’s employer and the Pinkertons and their employer Leviticus Cornwall. Originally an uneasy alliance may have been made by all involved as Micah’s inside man status benefited his employer, the Pinkertons, and Cornwall, and something Micah said or did tipped off his boss of the planned double-cross Micah had in mind, and this party’s refusal to pay him a dime, and naturally Micah unintentionally screwing up whatever bargain he made with the Pinkertons and other law enforcement types, thus making him wanted everywhere by everybody, finally had Micah snap at having failed where he always succeeded, thus leading to what eventually unfolds.

Arthur Rides Toward the Setting Sun (from The Verge)

Now I’m claiming for a single instance that this is the definitive reason behind Micah’s actions in the story and game, but it is a reason I don’t think anyone else has touched upon, and there is some validity behind the reasons I gave. I didn’t want to go too in depth as I don’t want this to be super long, and there are plenty of game aficionados who’ve done far better analysis of this than myself, but I hope everyone who reads will find it entertaining, and maybe even check out the game cutscenes to see if my theory matches up a little.

All images courtesy of Google.com/Google Images and their respective owners.

Quotes are from Red Dead Redemption II gameplay

Here’s some YouTube videos that’ll help in understanding some of my theory

Filed under: Film & TV: Potpourri, Film: Special Topics

2 Responses

  1. I just wanted to say “Congrats” on appearing in the western digest. That is great news!

    (I’m commenting on it here because I’m not able to comment on all your posts… Maybe I’ve got wonky wordpress preferences.)

  2. I think some more proof of Micah being the rat is in the bank job where he is the only one not wearing black. I think him wearing white was his way of having the Pinkertons and the Law not shoot at him.

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