It’s interesting that people are going back to Mark’s playthrough of Five Nights at Freddy’s: Sister Location in search of some nuggets of information, due to the nature of Mark’s teasing of possible Dark sightings. People are being very diligent, thus far.
But I feel there’s one portion of Sister Location that’s being ignored: the custom nights. More specifically, the last one to feature a cut scene.
To set this up, let me catch you up on the ending of Sister Location. There’s the canonical Red Ending, where Mike’s (the player’s character) internal organs get “scooped” to make way for the endoskeleton of the animatronic monstrosity that is Ennard. The Blue Ending, Scott Cawthon has gone on record to state, is not actually canon.
The custom nights show brief cut scenes of what happens after Ennard has donned Mike’s skin. If one conquers the hardest settings for the custom nights, as Mark did, one gets to watch as Mike’s flesh slowly deteriorates… until finally, his deformed body collapses, ejecting something out in the process.
What sounds like Circus Baby’s voice is also heard repeating the words “you won’t die” as Mike’s empty flesh gets back up from where it collapsed on the pavement.
To view it for yourself, watch Part 4 of Mark’s Sister Location: Custom Night videos, starting at 6:07 and through what he has to say regarding that scene. Because it’s his postulations following that, I think, he later drew inspiration from in the creation of Dark’s backstory for Who Killed Markiplier?.
For those who can’t watch it right now, but still want the relevant info, I’ll quote it in full beneath the cut, along with my commentary on his theorizing.
So those of you who don’t like spoilers won’t be spoiled. Just come back when you’re done watching, ‘kay? Go on. I can wait…
…Okay, so you’re back? Good, let’s get to it.
It takes about a minute for Mark to process what happened, and work through his stunned and horrified reaction. But once he does, what he has to say is pure poetry.
“So what does that mean? That’s the interesting question that I have. What did that mean? I mean, I understand the fundamental concept of ‘you won’t die’ and therefore Purple Guy was not just the combination of the two of them. Purple Guy is now the resurrected evil version of the scooped-out entity that was… Ennard? I…. ah… that’s fucking weird!
“Um, okay, so if I had to fully… If I had to fully rationalize what I just saw… So, Purple Guy is literally empty inside because all of the innards were scooped to make the way for Ennard. So, in that capacity, Purple Guy is like the soulless, heartless, completely empty shell of a man, who likely isn’t a man, who’s somehow kept alive after they were transformed by having Ennard inside of them. And then when it finally came time for Ennard to leave, after maybe Ennard discovered that it wasn’t working, the changes had been so severe… and Ennard’s promise that you wouldn’t die came to life, in that something was left behind. Not mechanical, in terms of like literally left behind in Ennard, but something more… I dunno, above that.
“Something horrible was left behind, and who you were in Sister Location was changed forever. And just this hollow, empty, walking shell was left behind, and that’s who Purple Guy was and maybe that’s… ma-maybe that’s why Purple Guy constantly felt the need to fill the empty void inside the hollow shells of his animatronic friends throughout the rest of Five Nights at Freddy’s.
“That’s just a thought… but it’s an interesting thought.”
If that’s a bit much for you to process all at once, let me break it down for you:
Mark believes we’re talking about a man who isn’t just a combination of two entities, but something more. Something evil was either created or existed there in the amalgamation of the two, as well.
He was turned into an empty shell that paved the way for… something else to get through.
He’s a soulless, heartless, empty, decaying shell of a man who was somehow kept alive by this strange transformation.
His body is broken and his mind has been shattered, and the changes made to him were so profound that they’re irreversible.
Sound familiar? I thought so too. And like I said, as horrifying as it is, it’s also pure poetry.
Now, I’m not saying the parallels are exact… but Mark is a fan of the FNAF games, his popularity had exploded because he played them, and they’re still the most-watched videos on his channel (even after all these years). Of course he’d pay homage to the game series he loves, the same series that broke him out of obscurity and solidified his place in the upper echelons of YouTube entertainers.
They do say to write what you know, after all. And there’s two things Mark knows very well: gaming, particularly the horror genre, and his fans.
Mark knows us. He saw the fandom create Darkiplier and, while he initially dug in his heels against it, has since given in to the inevitable. But he has also determined to shape the character his way. And Mark’s interpretation of Dark is both frightening and sad in equal measure.
He’s given us a relatable form of evil in Darkiplier, one that has very human qualities and emotions… but also monstrous ambitions and murderous intent. Even if we don’t fully understand Dark’s supernatural composition, we do understand his emotional world a little better than we once did.
And we hate him, we love him, and we hate ourselves for loving him.
He is a broken and empty shell of what was once a person, containing the fractured spirits of two or more entities who cannot exist on their own anymore, and glued together in a demented parody of life by the unknowable, manipulative demonic force that conceived of the circumstances which tormented and murdered them. A demonic force which does not appear to be as uncaring nor as passive as we initially believed… and may have far more control of the resulting monstrosity than we can easily anticipate.
We have wept for what made those restless and angry souls this way. We have raged against it and, in our sorrow, furiously declared that they all deserved better.
But there is little else left for them. Their choices were taken from them by the dark forces lurking in the house, and it won’t get any better because… well, what end could there possibly be for someone or something whose very existence defies the laws of the natural world?
True death will be Damien and Celine’s only release. Destroying the broken body that contains them may be the only way to end their suffering once and for all. (And it would really wreck that damned demon’s day.)
Killing Dark would be, in truth, an act of love – it would be assisted suicide, rather than murder. It would say that we love him enough to end his pain for him… and let him go.
Because while he continues to exist, he has long since ceased to really live.
I took a shower after writing the above portion and, as I was shampooing my hair, I thought on Dark’s plight further… because I sure as hell didn’t want to leave it there, on such a downer of a note. Then, during my ablutions, it hit me.
You remember my Dollhouse AU moodboard, right? Well, on the original Dollhouse television program (which, sadly, was only allowed two seasons as Fox Network thought its narrative too cerebral for their audience), one of the villains is a fellow called Alpha.
He was the first “Doll” of the Los Angeles Dollhouse, hence his codename. He develops a fascination for a fellow Doll named Echo who, he feels, has the potential to be just like him.
What does that mean? He’s a composite personality, a combination of all the manufactured personalities that were imprinted on the Active architecture in his brain. Normally, the Dollhouse is pretty thorough about wiping the Dolls’ memories and returning them to an innocent, childlike, empty state. But, very rarely, the wipes merely push things down instead of removing them.
Such was the case for both Alpha and Echo.
However, unlike Echo (who was imprinted with more cooperative and loving personalities), Alpha was given imprints that were either amoral or violent in nature, while the Dollhouse technology was still in its experimental phase. Alpha’s imprinted personalities lack a moral compass, so he has no qualms about manipulating things behind the scenes – or even outright killing the people Echo has had a “romantic engagement” with – to get some quality time with Echo herself.
As Alpha puts it, when a taskforce sent by the Dollhouse tries to prevent him from killing all of Echo’s lovers: “There are many parts of me that know this is wrong, none that care… and a few that think this is actually kinda funny.”
The man whose body later housed the composite personality of Alpha, incidentally, originally volunteered as an alternative to serving a life sentence in prison. That’s literally all we know of the original personality, as he was never returned to his own body and nothing else was said of him. But as bad as he might have been, especially as a criminal locked away for the rest of his natural life, Alpha’s much much worse. (Honest. Alpha’s got literally DOZENS of psychotic, narcissistic, and generally fucked-up personalities that definitely need to be on meds uploaded into his brain-space. The guy’s an army of one who marches to the drumbeat of pure crazy.)
Anyway, the tables eventually turn after Alpha kills Echo’s handler Paul Ballard, who she has an unrequited affection for, and Alpha imprints himself with Paul’s personality. When the Paul personality briefly fights his way to the forefront and begs Echo to sacrifice him to end Alpha’s reign of terror, Alpha himself has a long-awaited epiphany.
Stunned and confused by Echo’s tearful refusal to kill Paul, Alpha quietly slinks away. The audience does not see him again until the series’ timeline shifts forward ten years into the future. There, the Rossum Corporation has successfully used the Dollhouse technology to remotely mindwipe nearly every man, woman and child across the globe… with only very few exceptions.
Echo is one of those exceptions, spearheading the fight to bring Rossum down for good.
Alpha is another, and the years have changed him. With Paul’s personality acting as the moral compass he’d previously lacked, Alpha had been fighting the good fight at Echo’s side, but he eventually lost his stomach for the interminable battle. By the time the audience sees him, he’s become a pacifist, using the shielded sub-basement of the L.A. Dollhouse to provide safe harbour for victims of the wipes who were reduced to an infantile Doll state.
(Some also became cannibalistic, zombie-like creatures… and those are better off being put out of their misery with a bullet to the skull.)
In this new, peaceful phase of his life, Alpha admits it’s harder for him to live quietly than it is for most single-mentality people. He still has his violent and manipulative urges with the 40+ personalities that inundate his brain, but the Paul imprint has been strong enough to encourage this new way of life.
The repentant and atoning Alpha later gifts Echo with the USB “wedge” that contains Paul’s personality, so her lost love can still be a part of her, with her, in a way.
(As an aside: I have to admit, my favourite line in the series is when one of Echo’s team notices he’s left one of the sleeping places in the L.A. Dollhouse in the same comfortably cluttered state it was when they left. Alpha remarks, “It appealed to the schizophrenic in me. Both of them, actually.”)
But this overall character arc that Alpha went through got me thinking. Dark is a lot like Alpha after all, a composite personality driven by anger and self-righteous indignation, a being that lacks a moral compass.
Perhaps, Dark’s circumstances would be much improved if he were to, like Alpha, subsume another personality into his totality. A personality that is more peaceable and cares for others, one that does not wish to cause anyone unnecessary pain and, indeed, only wants to make people happy and the world a brighter place for all.
Who do we know like that? Mark.
Not “Asshole Mark” of WKM, of course, but our Mark. If Mark and Dark’s personalities were to merge, he might give Dark the psychological anchor and internal comfort that the entity otherwise lacks.
It’s a dangerous thing to contemplate, and it would mean we risk losing Mark, but it’s an interesting thought. And perhaps that was what Dark was alluding to when he said, “He promised he would let me in again.”
Dark’s body and mind are fractured and in agonizing pain. There is a chance that Mark could heal the damage, by offering up his own healthier body and strong mind. Perhaps it wouldn’t change Dark totally, but it might be enough that Dark can find some measure of peace.
And Mark would also find peace as well, in learning to accept his Dark side.