About Ford and the big picture in Weirdmageddon pt. 3
(Submitted by @soulsuckingisaacnewton)
I totally agree that it does not fit with Ford’s character to disregard the fate of the universe for the benefit of two people. Especially since, as Mabel pointed out, it’s reasonable to assume that Bill would find a loophole in the deal and do something nasty to the kids anyway once the barrier was down. Ford knows better than just about anybody that Bill can’t be trusted.
The best explanation I could come up with was that at that moment, Ford had lost all hope. Ford himself was a prisoner, along with Stan. The Cipher Wheel (zodiac?) had failed and the people they would need to try it again were captured and transformed. The memory gun was of no avail due to the plate in Ford’s head. The kids were free for the moment, but they had no real weapons or leverage to use against Bill; all they could do was run. In short, as far as Ford knew, no one was in any position to fight Bill effectively. The only thing standing in his way was the barrier, and I think Ford thought that Bill would eventually find a way to break through that on his own. Bill was pretty smart, he was incredibly powerful, and he had nothing but time. He could have found some other mathematically inclined person in town and bribed or forced them to help him figure out the equation, just like he tricked Ford into helping him design the portal. Essentially, at that point Ford wasn’t thinking that he was sacrificing the universe to save his family; he was thinking that the universe was doomed no matter what he did, and the best he could do was to give his family a chance, however slim, of survival.
I hope all that makes sense to you. It’s a very depressing thought, I know, but it gives me more peace of mind than the idea that Ford would go back on all his principles at the last moment.
I… like this explanation a lot, actually. It makes much more sense than anything else I’ve seen postulated thus far, and if you plug this theory into what we’re actually shown in the finale and all the episodes leading up to it, all the pieces fall into place.
Bill probably would have eventually figured out the equation by himself if given enough time, as you said; it looked like he came up with the bulk of the Universe Portal’s design and function, after all.
Ford was mostly the hands used to build it and an editor of sorts for the project, to catch anything that Bill might overlook and take care of the real-world implementations and such. In short, the triangle is far from stupid. So it’s not a stretch to assume that a being that has lived for billions of years and has pulled the strings of history for thousands of those years could figure out a mathematical equation that took Ford only about 3 decades tops to solve, or, like you said, maybe find someone else to help him do it. He has forever to try. But since he wants to leave ASAP, torturing the stubborn meat mannequin for a handful of days until it squeals is a much quicker – and more fun! – arrangement than taking another few weeks/months/decades/centuries for him to finally have the universe-ending party he’s been planning for so long.
And Ford knows Bill better than any other living human; you can bet that he would be well aware of all this and that Bill absolutely cannot be trusted to uphold any sort of deal that’s made with him.
You’re also right in that the general situation looks extremely bleak at the moment Ford seems to finally just quietly break. He was likely able to hold out for the days Bill was torturing him because he had the hope that his journals and the other tools he’d left behind would still be able to help Dipper find a solution to end the madness, and he wanted to delay Bill as much as possible to make sure that happened. But then the Cipher Wheel was broken, everyone was captured, and there was no one else that could hope to stand up to Bill, no tools or weapons left with which to fight him.
There was nothing more that Ford or the others could do to protect the universe. They had failed. Bill would now undoubtedly find a way past the barrier. It was only a matter of time, one way or another. It was essentially all over but the crying.
Also, just as a friendly reminder, Ford is also dealing with the aftereffects of some absolutely horrific torture, which likely lasted for days,
on top of getting shot by the security drone,
knocked around inside the alien pod,
having a friggin’ roof fall on top of him,
and being turned into a golden statue,
all in the time span of a few days. He is at this point in time exhausted, badly injured, probably sleep-deprived (I doubt Bill would have left him alone for very long, if at all, in between torture sessions), and just all in all both emotionally and physically spent, basically running on fumes and kept standing only by adrenaline and pure willpower. So he is… understandably not in the best or most rational frame of mind when Bill decides to murder the children and goes rampaging off after them through the Fear-amid.
After all, it’s kind of a stretch to seemingly go from “No Dipper we need to defeat Bill before finding Mabel so that we stop this madness ASAP,” to “ZOMG NO NOT THE KIDS PLEASE I’LL DO ANYTHING SCREW THE UNIVERSE THEY ARE THE ONLY THINGS THAT MATTER TO ME!1!” in the space of 3 episodes. Those two reactions coming from the exact same person just doesn’t make sense if you view them from a purely objective lens. Either it’s extremely ham-handed, contradictory writing (and a really badly broken Aesop to boot - “Yes children, your family should always take precedence over literally the rest of the lives in the universe combined. SO JUST LET THE REST OF IT BURN.”)… or something had to have changed in the way Ford viewed the current circumstances. Because judging by his reaction to the twins being in danger in the finale and when he found out they were alright, Ford obviously cares very, very deeply for both Dipper and Mabel.
And yet he didn’t immediately try to save Mabel in Pt. 1. Why? Because there was still a chance that they could beat Bill, and that took precedence over everything, since if Bill was defeated, everything would be saved, including Mabel.
But in Pt. 3, the situation was pretty much as hopeless as it could have possibly gotten, and Ford was just fresh out of ideas for how to possibly salvage the situation for once in his life. But even if he could no longer see a way to save the universe no matter how hard he might have tried… there was still the slim chance he might possibly be able to help save his family, and I can easily imagine that in the heat of the moment, Ford would grasp desperately at the only option he believed he had left to maybe at least do something to protect the children he’s grown to love until Stan brought up the twin switch trick.
So yeah. It makes total sense that this ending scene isn’t as simple as some people assume, and I much prefer this interpretation of events than the more common one that Ford just flipped out at the last second and decided to flush his principles and the world down the metaphorical toilet because the twins were in danger and he suddenly had an epiphany about how they really were more important to him than the well-being of the rest of the universe.