Chlorine Music Video Analysis

The video kicks off with Tyler and Josh futilely trying to fill up an old dirty pool with a small broken hose. Tyler puts on a pair on headphones covered in yellow tape revealing that is fingers are also covered in yellow tape. Immediately this is an easy comparison with the black body paint from the Blurryface era. Tyler has said that Yellow is a color that the Bishops cannot see and that is why the Banditos use it for camouflage. Right off the bat, this makes me think that Tyler is trying to hide his ears and his hands from the bishops because he doesn’t want to hear them and he doesn’t want them to see the things he is making with his hands i.e. his music, restating Tyler’s anxiety from Blurryface of creating his music. 

Tyler proceeds to crouch down and pick up a styrofoam cup at his feet and then taste his finger tips. 

It is only after this that we first see the appearance of the little alien/monster/animal that Tyler has hinted may be named Ned, who peaks out from behind a car door in the surrounding mess. 

He appears friendly and inquisitive and at first sight, Tyler signals for Josh to stop the water flow to entice Ned to come out. Ned does, and upon looking at the sad little pool, now only filled with water from the hose, Ned refuses the pool and goes back to his hiding place behind the door. Whatever is there right now, is not enough for Ned accept. 

The video then cuts to Tyler and Josh coming back from picking up gallons and gallons of what is assumed to be chlorine in large jugs. The visual of Josh driving and Tyler passively sitting, headphones now removed, is reminiscent of the HDS video of BF driving while Tyler sits idly by and follows. Tyler picks up his styrofoam cut from early and just as he is about to drink he stops himself. This is confirmation that whatever is in that cup, Tyler has consciously decided is bad and that we doesn’t want to drink it. He nearly drinks again only seconds later prompting an exchange of looks between Tyler and Josh that is hard to define.

The cup may well contain the chlorine and is a metaphor for submitting to the poison, or submitting to the chaos. 

Tyler and Josh then work together to empty all of their Chlorine into the pool, and while Ned seems more interested than before, ultimately Ned still declines and walks away from the pool. It is still not good enough. 

Tyler and Josh go and one up themselves further and are shown rolling an industrial pressurized container on presumably more concentrated chlorine up the hill and to the pool, in hopes that finally now Ned will be satisfied. And, they are finally rewarded. Ned takes a look at the pool and steps back only to get a running start as he cannonballs straight into the bubbling and steaming pool of heavy duty chlorine. 

At the same time as Ned takes his dive into the pool, a cut away shows Tyler running up to the camera, now in night time and again without his headphones. Tyler appears sweaty, overwhelmed, and panicked, the video lines up with the music so at this very moment Tyler sings “I’m so sorry I forgot you, let me catch you up to speed” and goes on to explain how hard things have been and how beaten he feels. Tyler seems to be running to explain or to ask forgiveness for his absence or another action, he is desperate and frightened and in a rush to admit or to confess his secrets and his story. 

Then we are shown Ned swimming in the chemicals, his horns having grown, a sign that he thrives in these dangerous toxic conditions. Proof that he represents something that flourishes and prospers under drastic conditions and excess. 

Next we see Tyler sitting alone in the now empty pool surrounded by the remaining chemical fumes. His headphones are off, and a hooded robed figure passes by quickly–a bishop. 

Ned re-appears to Tyler. Josh is no where to be seen. They share a sad defeated look as they both look around at the empty gray pool. Tyler leans his head back exhausted against the wall and sighs. 

A hand, presumably the hand of the bishop, reaches down and hands Tyler the cup that he had been carrying around but not drinking from all day, and Tyler accepts it from him. He tries to hand it to Ned who takes one smell and repels forcefully. The music fades out as Tyler is left holding the cup and seriously considering finally taking a drink. 

All of this leads me to believe that Ned may be representative of some part of Tyler’s mind or mental illness that is usually dormant but which demands absolutes from him and pushes more and more to reach for extremes. He only appears once Tyler had tasted his first drop of the cup, and then goes on to refuse moderate doses and flourishes only once the pool appears hazardous. 

Tyler appears to be in some kind of hiding from the bishops and Josh is by his side helping even once the tasks begin to increase in extremity. The first time we see Tyler without his headphones on in the truck is also the first time that Tyler seems to question drinking from the cup only to be dissuaded by Josh’s presence beside him. But he also looks sad and remorseful inferring that maybe he had done something he regretted or was regretting and questioning his present situation. 

By the time the Bishops find Tyler he appears to have given in and is left with the absence of the chlorine and of Josh. Perhaps the extremes finally pushed Josh away or perhaps even more darkly, Tyler turned himself and Josh into the Bishops. 

Tyler clearly seems to be mostly an absent observer, a bystander, in his own life in this video. He appears to struggle to fit in, and maybe his made him question his escape from DEMA and tempted him to make a return. A sort of relapse to the familiar because the new and unusual is strange and doesn’t fit quite right yet. 

Either way, Tyler is left alone, alienated by his own actions (either turning himself and Josh in for capture and return, or by pushing too hard and reaching the extent of what the people around him would put up with). And it is only when Tyler is left at the mercy of the bishops that he looks around and takes stock in what he has lost, and how empty it feels now that the danger and the chlorine has drained away. 

As he finally takes the cup from the bishop and Ned recoils, it also occurs that maybe this cup was some sort of cure or medication all along and Ned, who clearly represents some kind of extreme, be it some sort of depressive or manic phase or whatever else, doesn’t want to take it. But upon reflection with the products of his actions, Tyler is left to decide for himself without the pressure of the people he pushed away and lost along the way whether to take a sip or not and let the vibe wash over him once and for all. 

I don’t fully understand the Chlorine MV yet but blessed be those friggin weirdos and their cryptic messages

Also I totally like the theory someone made that Ned is Tyler’s childhood imaginary friend. Especially connecting it with the ending “I’m so sorry I forgot you, let me catch you up to speed” because he used to rely on his imaginary friend to make him happy.

On a different note: JoSh DuNs FrIgGiN HaT aNd SwEaTpAnTs I’m DyInG bLeSs