Darkiplier in 2017: An In-Depth Look (Part 1)

Yes, this is the companion piece to the “My Big Damn Theory on Darkiplier” post. I started it because I wanted to keep track of Dark’s movements and appearances throughout Mark’s videos this year, so far. It was supposed to be out a lot sooner, but I’m a procrastinator… Plus, have you SEEN the amount of vids on Markiplier’s channel? Hoo boy. At least, I’m only keeping track of the 2017 vids. Cue the re-watch! πŸ˜€

Yes, I’m going to go through the videos Dark appears in and/or influences in some way, and explain my thoughts and theorizations on them. We’ll start with the biggie.

In 2017, His first real appearance (after some who-knows-how-many-months-long silence from our Dark Lord) is in “A Date with Markiplier,” released just in time for Valentine’s Day. But you already knew that.

After we (the audience) decide to pay for the meal with Mark, we then elect to watch the Horror play… which foreshadows the shit out of things with its title: The Dark Mark. (BTW, if you don’t pay for the meal, you and Mark get thrown into a prison and Dark sticks you in a Groundhog Day style time-loop so you can never escape… well, unless you want Warfstache to turn you into Chica for shits and giggles.)

After Mark excitedly declares the play’s starting, he mysteriously vanishes (perhaps whisked away by Dark, to prevent him from interfering?). There’s a thunderous rumble as the world bends and we’re sucked down into Darkiplier’s pocket dimension. Dark is dressed exactly like Mark, but all the colour is leached away, making the soft grey of Mark’s suit and red-checkered tie both near-black in shade… a very appropriate look for Dark. I approve.

(Bonus love to Mark on just how menacing and seductive his portrayal of Dark is. I have never been both so unsettled AND aroused at once by a fictional character in my life. Seriously, Mr. Fischbach needs to get into film and play a baddie or two. He’s just SO GOOD at it.)

And, in case you forgot, here’s what Dark has to say to us once we come face to face with Him:

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“Did you miss Me? I missed you… very much. I’ve been waiting a long time to see you again. I’ve been pushed aside, replaced, mocked. And then he had the gall to not invite Me to his little adventure with you. No more… never again. It’s My turn now. I’ve been waiting patiently. He promised he would let Me in again! I’m tired of giving people a choice. But I suppose I can give you one last option. Take your pick: Anything of four different choices – more than he could have given you – and let’s see how far down this rabbit hole really goes. So take your pick. Show Me what you got. And maybe we’ll have a good ‘date’ after all.”

And that soliloquy is followed by a ringing silence as Dark smiles smugly and rolls His neck. (The latter action drove the fangirls – and some of the bois – NUTS.)

The choices in question? Three old videos: Dark’s first appearances in “Don’t Move” and “Don’t Blink,” followed by the “Relax” video where Markiplier portrays Dark in a more comedic fashion (I’m guessing that last one was the one that ticked the real Dark off. How ’bout you?). But the titles of those three old videos spell out some rather ominous instructions: Don’t move. Don’t blink. Relax.

The only new video – and the only real choice – is the optimistically titled “Freedom!” Contrary to its hopeful title, we continue with being held by our snazzily-dressed captor.

“Good choice. But why do we need to choose in life? If dinner is what you want, then I can provide, and I can take you wherever you’d like to go. I can especially take you to the places that you don’t want to go. It’s exciting, knowing that there are endless possibilities waiting for you. I can give you anything! I’ve been waiting a long time to get some… personal time between us. There’s nothing you or he can do to stop Me! So, now that we’re here together, we can really get to know each other. *distorted screaming* You just need to let Me in; it’s as simple as that.”

(Mark described in the livestream that rather jumpy, jarring delivery as Dark’s shell cracking. Which… is pretty awesome when you think about how powerful Dark’s essence may be, and how carefully controlled He likely has to be to avoid damaging His vessel. And what is showing through the cracks is TERRIFYING to behold. You do NOT want to fuck with this guy.)

Then Dark teleports us outside, His influence casting a pall over the sunlight itself, and He arrogantly declares, “You’re never, ever going to escape. Not now.”

Cue Markiplier gate-crashing Dark’s private party in the most hilarious and heroic way possible. Dark, looking and sounding all too human, indignantly splutters, “What the hell? Where did you come from? How did you get out?!” …Before Mark puts a bag over His head to blind Him. (My personal theory on this part still holds: that Dark used His powers to sweep Mark away to some sort of holding area, so he wouldn’t interfere. How Mark escaped from wherever he was and found us in time, we’re never told, however.)

And then Dark pulls an identical bag from out of nowhere and likewise cripples Mark’s vision with it. Which, given His ability to materialize an entire table set in preparation of a meal, complete with wine bottle? Not really so surprising.

But punches are thrown in spite of the opponents’ handicaps, there’s staticky distortions as Dark tries to use His powers in the fight… and then a gun hits the floor. (How Mark also got the gun is never stated, but our viewpoint immediately snatches it up in self-defense, resulting in losing track of who’s who.)

Both – who are disconcertingly identical to one another – each try to convince us to shoot the other. (And there’s an easter egg in the video. If you look closely, Dark is the one in a more shadowy area… but doesn’t cast a shadow of His own. Because… well, you can’t see a shadow in complete darkness, right? While Mark, being the bright and sweet normal boy he is, is standing in a brighter spot and is able to cast a shadow. *genius moment*)

Dark is more persuasive (“he does bad things to good people”), while Mark is more humourous (“he has weird eyes!”). But they’re talking at the same time, overlapping each other with identical voices, so it might be difficult to tell who’s saying what.

So, let’s say you had trouble determining which is which. You elect, more on instinct than plan, to shoot the man on the left. You reluctantly pull the trigger and, with that single shot, he crumples to the ground with a pained groan. The victor standing to your right, initially jolted at the sound of the gunshot and, after a brief moment of stunned silence, rushes to comfort you. “You made the right call. Come here. It’s okay. It’s okay.”

He sweeps you away from the whole sordid scene, to a peaceful ice cream parlor, holding you all the while. “Oh man, I am so sorry,” he tells you, voice soft and expression earnest. “Are you okay? You had to kill somebody. I feel so bad. But hey, it’s okay, we’re here now. We can continue the date with some ice cream.” He smiles at the teller and confidently orders for you both, then immediately ushering you to a nearby table with your food. “It’s going to be all right. Just relax. We’ll enjoy some nice, dairy-based treats and, uh… get to know each other, really, personally.” He gestures to your dessert with an encouraging smile. “Go ahead!”

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You glance down at the bowl of chocolate ice cream and your vision swims. Looking up, you realize with horror you’re gazing into Dark’s soulless black eyes. He’s revealed himself to you, now that you’ve dropped your guard and chose to stay with Him. “Oops. Looks like you made the wrong choice. But now we’re going to be together… forever.” He gives you a soft, unnerving chuckle and a downright vicious grin. The silence stretches as you face the horrible reality that you shot your would-be hero Mark instead, and are now trapped in the clutches of a monster. A slave to this inhuman beast for eternity, thanks to choosing the Dark path.

But let’s say you chose differently, more carefully. Instead of shooting the Mark on the left, you aim for the one on the right. One shot is all it takes, and your victim drops silently, like a stone. And the difference is apparent; this Mark, the Mark you spared is both more sincere and more animated in his gestures… and also less smooth or confident.

Your vision flickers when looking down at your ice cream, and you wonder for one horrifying moment if you made the wrong choice. But you look up to see Mark tittering gleefully over a bite of his vanilla treat. You relax, for real this time, as Mark haltingly asks if you want to go on a second date with him.

Here’s the thing: It’s an (appropriately) sweet ending. But that brief flicker was a warning, nonetheless. Dark may be down but He’s certainly not out.

Now, here’s my thought on that: Other than the obvious warning we receive with our otherwise happy ending, how did that happen to begin with? How can you actually hurt an Eldritch Abomination with a handgun, of all the damnedest things? Simple: Dark Himself wasn’t injured, but His vessel – the Mark-shaped container for His malevolent essence – was damaged. After the gunshot, Dark’s body simply drops like a puppet that had its strings cut. No whimper of pain, no nothing. Just a dull thud.

Remember: Markiplier himself has said that what we see of Dark isn’t His True Form. In the livestream, he distinctly referred to Dark as a puppeteer. Think about that the next time you play through the Date With Markiplier game – the thing you saw, the person you thought was Dark, was simply the puppet being moved and given speech, not the puppet master Himself. You just can’t see the strings.

This is where my theory of Dark being a Hellgod comes in. Because that’s how truly powerful supernatural beings work; they pour a portion of themselves into a container that you can see in front of you, a form you are comfortable interacting with, because their True Form is beyond human comprehension and would burn out your retinas and drive you mad to see.

God shows up as a kindly old man (played by Morgan Freeman) in Bruce Almighty, Illyria looks like a tiny girl with blue-tinted skin in the Buffy spin-off Angel, and the Hellgod Glory from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (who I’ve compared Dark to before) appears as an attractive, vain young woman because she has been sealed in a human body (ironically that of a young man) to reduce her strength and prevent her from returning to her native realm.

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And, in the universe of Supernatural, all the angels (who aren’t necessarily good guys just because they come from Heaven) have to possess a human body in order to interact on the Earthly plane. The most powerful of the angels, Lucifer, takes on a temporary vessel… which burns up in a matter of weeks due to the strain of bearing the Morningstar’s essence. And Lucifer’s True Vessel, Sam Winchester, has to drink literally GALLONS of demon blood in order to contain him. (A hint of Lucifer’s True Form is only seen very briefly when he rises at the beginning of Season 5… as a pillar of pure, bright light that instantly fries anything it touches with the power of a nuclear bomb.)

All the beings I mentioned are impossibly powerful, far beyond what we humans can even begin to effectively grasp in a concrete manner. God literally created the entire universe we dwell in. Lucifer was sealed in a cage in the deepest pit of Hell by God Himself (to prevent the ultimate destruction of God’s painstakingly crafted Creation) and, up until the point Sam accidentally set him free, Lucifer had been down there for over ten thousand years. Illyria is a primordial uber-demon who ruled with an iron fist (er… tentacle?) before being murdered by her rivals millions of years ago and interred in a mystical prison called the Deeper Well… only to be resurrected by her remaining acolytes in modern-day Los Angeles (where her temple Va’hala’nesh once stood to hold her Army of Doom till she returned). And Glory was ejected from her dimension by two (also very powerful) Hellgods who feared her growing power and teamed up in order to incapacitate her.

You’ll also notice that two of those beings (Illyria and Glory) were defeated only by other beings on their level of the playing field working together (whereas Lucifer himself was initially defeated only by the very being who created him). It’s my theory that Dark had suffered a fate similar to Illyria and Glory–cast out by other powerful beings who worked together against Him, because they had reason to fear Him.

And now, He’s weaker. Exhausted from a no doubt long and arduous battle with His rivals in which He lost the purchase He’d once held on His domain (known to us as Raspy Hill), draining Him of His power and casting Him out among the pitifully small and vulnerable humans on our tiny little rock of a planet. The mighty have fallen.

It also goes a long way toward explaining His rage. Wouldn’t YOU be pissed at being kicked out of your own home, where you had ruled the roost for untold eons? Forced to start at rock bottom in attaining followers and regaining your strength? No wonder Dark’s so testy.

And Dark’s biggest threat is Markiplier.

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Mark isn’t of the proud Slayer lineage like Buffy Summers and Faith Lehane, or part-demon like Angel’s son Connor and would-be lover Cordelia, or a vessel to contain “wavelengths of celestial intent” like Sam and Dean Winchester. Markimoo isn’t a wizard like Mr. Potter, an alien time-traveler like Dr. Who, or a retired military badass like… well, way too many fictional heroes. Markiplier is just a normal guy who loves video games, a goofball who makes his friends laugh, a devoted son who admires his father and adores his mother, and a kind-hearted idealist who aspires to leave the world a little better than it was when he first arrived.

This normal, everyday guy is the guy that somehow got tapped to face down an Eldritch Abomination (of untold power from the most horrifying world we can’t even begin to imagine) and make Him say “uncle.” Wait… what? That’s gotta be a clerical error from Upstairs, right?

Nope. Because there’s one thing that Mark’s got going for him – he’s a survivor. He’s dealt with pain, poverty, loss, near-fatal illness, abuse and heartbreak… and come through it all stronger and clear-eyed, never losing sight of his dreams or his hope in a better, brighter future. If Mark Edward Fischbach’s been given a superpower at all, it’s his ability to endure twists of fate that have already broken so many others before him, and to get through it with aplomb and humour. This young man – at only twenty-eight years old – has the iron will of one who’s already lived many lifetimes crammed into one, and our world is a richer and sunnier place because of him.

Now, Mark may or may not be able to win the fight against Mr. Tall, Dark and Sharply Dressed, but that doesn’t mean he can’t make the Big Bad’s day miserable with a few punches and some wisecracks. And that definitely has to stick in the Tenebrous One’s craw. Going from ruling armies of everyone’s worst nightmares, only to be reduced to trading blows with an Average Joe? That’s gotta hurt one’s pride a tad. No wonder Dark quietly slunk away to lick His wounds for awhile. Ouch.

So, Dark’s quiet for now, right? The Big Bad’s gonna take a nice long nap to recover the strength He lost when His vessel was damaged. Right?

RIGHT?

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Oh. Crap.

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Mostly, I write stuff. And, like the Egyptians and the Internet, I put cat pictures on my walls. Also, I can read your Tarot.