There’s always that one character that was created solely to be loathed by the player. Usually, they’re some sort of unforgivable villain — other times, they’re just a bitch. In Until Dawn, the character Emily is a version of the latter.
Everyone who I’ve seen play the game says at least once how much they hate her. But even though she’s definitely not the most pleasant person of the group, I’d like to stand up and say that Emily probably would have had the highest chances of survival more than anyone because of her bitchiness.’
Beware, however, the spoilers for Until Dawn under the cut.
First of all, let’s set things straight. Emily was not the main instigator in the prank played on Hannah. From what we saw, it was actually Jessica who thought up the whole thing. She says, and I quote, “I’m just looking out for my girl Em.” Emily just about the same level of guilt as Ashley, Mike, and even Matt who had a camcorder on him at the time! Even Sam, Hannah’s best friend, could have created a huge scene and shouted at the group to draw attention to their ploy. Instead, she backed down and let it happen (although I do acknowledge she seemed to intend to tell Hannah beforehand).
Now, does this excuse Emily from being a total selfish brat? Of course not! The way she treats her so-called friends is appalling, especially when it comes to her new boyfriend, Matt. She definitely has the shittiest personality, no doubt about it.
When Chris and Ashley meet up with Emily and Matt after Josh’s death, it’s Emily who urges everyone to immediately take action and escape. It may come off as insensitive, but that’s because she’s gone into survival mode. Shut up, get your shit, we’re leaving. The idea of mourning, of comforting her friends, doesn’t even cross her mind! No sympathy. No empathy. Just enough information to know what to do next.
She’s also the one that forces Matt to head to the Fire Tower; without their attempt, they never would’ve been able to radio for outside help, and then it wouldn’t have mattered if any of them made it to dawn in the first place. And don’t forget the fact that Emily is not one of the ‘brave’ souls who want to go out of their way to save everyone else. They were safe in the basement (as far as we know), and if they had stayed there, the number of potential causalities would have decreased significantly.
The only reason Emily went along with Sam’s plan to leave was that she didn’t want to be alone (especially not after she’s almost been shot!). This is expressed through her repeated demands to be rescued and helped, especially to Matt, and even in mundane tasks. The initial complaint of “Babe! Go get my bag!” is a perfect example of Emily’s lack of confidence in herself — which aligns well with Dr. Hill’s observation of her: Overconfidence is often a sign of a lack of confidence.
Am I saying we need to show Emily sympathy? Not really. I mean, we should feel bad for everyone in the game despite the terrible events that took place; these are humans (young stupid kids, ages ranging between 18-20!) whose emotional and mental states are pushed beyond what they should experience. It’s the fight or flight response, the instinct to survive, and that can make anyone do terrible things. That’s how we get real life psychopaths, yeah?
What I’m trying to say is that, even if we don’t like them, people with attitudes and mindsets like Emily’s often are the ones most likely to survive. They don’t charge into situations to be heroic, they don’t waste time trying to make everyone happy in terrible situations, and they force people into action, and sometimes even use others for personal benefit. In essence…
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!