Andrew Ryan Is Alive and Well and Living in Lake Cauldron

Don't dick with me Ryan, are you my daddy or not?

While having some knowledge of Alan Wake and Bioshock might be a minor prerequisite for this article, it is in no way mandatory. I assume those with said knowledge will have already picked up on the title. For those in the dark, read on if you dare…spoilers will be afoot.

You’ve no doubt seen the abundant supply of theories concerning Alan Wake’s perplexing storyline.  One might even call it a ‘Suplex’ story. I use the wrestling term as a combination of the words super and perplexing. Like it? Anyway, I’m here to clear the air, or water, if you will. If you won’t, then you are missing out on what will soon be regarded as the most widely unaccepted answer to the mystery.  What does Andrew Ryan have to do with Alan Wake, you ask? Well, many have confused or drawn comparisons between Alan Wake’s Thomas Zane (in his fresh diving gear) and the Big Daddies from Bioshock. I can say, with no amount of certainty, that these associations are not without merit.

If you thought Andrew Ryan was dead, you are a silly person. Vita Chambers anyone? He simply took advantage of the resurrecting technology and escaped his beloved city of Rapture. Blame a justified fear of sports equipment if you like.  Anyway, in his hasty retreat he entered an underwater cavern that led from the ocean, straight into Cauldron Lake. See where I’m going here? Andrew Ryan is actually Thomas Zane.

Ryan changed his name upon his arrival in Bright Falls; find that hard to believe? Andrew Ryan and Thomas Zane have the same number of letters in each name – I bet you can’t believe you missed that. After he took up residence at Diver’s Isle, as it became known, Ryan tried expressing himself through poetry – he had to find some way to vent his regret and remorse regarding Rapture.

Ryan even shacked up with Barbara Jagger, or “Babs” as he called her. Yes, Emil Hartman was his assistant for a while, but Hartman was annoying, so Ryan had to let him go. While Ryan’s writing endeavors brought him success, it did not fill the hole that Rapture had left in him.  And he never really adjusted to living on the surface again.

Ryan eventually decided to return to an aquatic setting; he thought the ocean would be too risky, but figured Cauldron Lake might be a good substitute. He erased his history as Zane, except for some crazy stuff he told Cynthia Weaver to get rid of her (they had a thing on the side), then he hired a bunch of local yokels and spliced them up against their will. He dubbed these poor fools ‘Shadow Splicers’ because they did his bidding tirelessly under the cover of darkness. His bidding was for them to enclose the cabin in a large glass bubble and once this project was complete, Ryan submerged the island, hoping to find his misplaced happiness.

Ryan enjoyed some light aquatic gardening to try and take his mind off of Rapture

At this point, you might be questioning this rationale for several reasons. The first being that Ryan should be dead by the time Alan Wake rolls into Bright Falls. Well, his longevity was thanks to a secret life-extending plasmid called…’longevity’. Then there’s that whole thing about Alan Wake claiming his wife disappeared from the cabin at Diver’s Isle. Not true. The Wakes were simply camping along the lake’s edge, Alan just didn’t remember it correctly; the head injury he sustained in the car wreck was probably to blame.

You might also wonder how Ryan could erase his history as Zane. To that, I say that the man masterminded the construction of an underwater city…I think he could make a paper trail disappear. Perhaps you’re pondering that story about the earthquake making the island sink. That was just a large explosion coordinated with Ryan’s escape into the lake. If you have any more questions or discover any other holes in this explanation, just consider that your homework.

Back on track, Ryan was to blame for Alice’s abduction. He was fond of her sleepwear and, let’s face it, Babs didn’t age well (with all the splicing). Additionally, Ryan still harbored animosity in regards to his failed utopia and living amongst the land dwellers again made him take up the ‘Mantle of Maliciousness’ (you can’t use that) and decided toying with the residents of Bright Falls would be great fun. Remember the stories of strange happenings around the town? Alan Wake was just his latest victim.

The Shadow Splicers were sent out all over Bright Falls to give Wake five kinds of hassle as he tried to solve the whole kidnapping business, meanwhile, Ryan is kicked back with a Martini at the bottom of the lake, having many chuckles at Wake’s misadventures. However, Babs feels rejected due to Ryan’s interest in Alice Wake and she tries to work her magic on Alan.  She appeals to his writer’s block and says she will replace his wife as a new muse.

Even with his delusions of being in the cabin for a week and other such nonsense, Babs causes Alan to set his sights on the lake. He eventually infiltrates Ryan’s underwater home and kills Babs. While this seems to have been done with ‘the Clicker’, that was just more of Wake’s delusions; she coincidentally keeled over from cardiac arrest just as he arrived. For Bioshock fans, something might sound familiar here: a man showing up on the doorstep of Ryan’s hideaway with the intent of wiping him out. Would you kindly think about that later?

Wake is apprehended and sedated once he arrives. While he believes he rescued Alice by sacrificing himself to the Dark Place, Ryan actually just let her go to focus on Wake. The reason for this was Wake freaked Ryan out when he made a connection to Ryan’s past – in his drugged-up state Alan says, “It’s not a lake, it’s an ocean.” If you’ll recall from the intro of Wake’s nightmare, it seems Wake has some sort of psychic ability.

By now, Ryan was pissed off with the crap TV reception at the bottom of the lake. Screw you, Sky, we're switching to Virgin

Ryan reacts accordingly. If you’ve played the Alan Wake DLC ,’The Signal’, you get glimpses of the ‘crazy Alan’ having a wild time in the cabin. I feel this is indicative of Splicer behavior. Ryan has undoubtedly started splicing Wake to keep him in check and to continue having fun with him, I mean, come on, Wake thinks he has beaten ‘the other Wake’ by blowing up some television sets? Perhaps the next DLC will feature Alan escaping and employing the use of Plasmids.

Now, you might be thinking “Yes, that makes perfect sense” or “That’s just crazy talk” or “Thanks for the spoilers, you jerk”. Well, you may or may not be right on all fronts, but you were warned about the spoilers.

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  1. Ste says:

    Makes perfect sense to me! Thats would explain why Ryan wasn’t in Bioshock 2, he was two busy bigging it up in Bright Falls.

  2. Lorna Lorna says:

    Enjoyed this and though I suspect I have spoiled Bioshock for myself, I couldn’t resist ;) Let’s hope that we don’t end up with Little Sister Taken, that really would be creepy. Great conspiracy theory logic, i.e. if something has the same number of letters as something else, then the two must be related. Lone Gunmen eat your hearts out.

  3. MarkuzR says:

    I know absolutely NOTHING about Alan Wake and Bioshock as I’ve yet to play either of them. I played Bioshock demo and was enraptured (pun wholly intended) by the water effects as you swim towards the elevator at the start but I just never managed to play the game more than maybe 20 minutes… no particular reason, I just didn’t. I will definitely play all the Bioshock games though, and am looking forward to Bioshock Infinite as I’m quite taken (not an Alan Wake pun there, sorry) by the whole steam punk style. Lorna will likely force me to play Alan Wake at some point too, even though I’m not sold on using a torch to kill stuff… I prefer chainsaws!

    So yeah, anyway… I DO love conspiracy theories though, and have always been keen on numerology so it’d be fun to analyse Andrew Ryan and Thomas Zane in that context to see where they stand against each other. There’s also no denying that the diver suit is a bit of a giveaway… like that bloke that works down the chip shop with the huge mutton chops and the “uh huh huh” way that he responds when you ask if he’s got any pickled eggs.

    Great idea though, enjoyed this :)

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