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Can We Talk About Grand Theft Auto V's Trevor?

Posted on Wednesday, September 18 @ 02:29:27 PST by

This article is about Trevor. Specifically, it's about one of Trevor's earliest moments in Grand Theft Auto V. Even more specifically it's about the first time you see Trevor in Grand Theft Auto V. If you're playing the game, you probably already know what I wanna talk about. If you plan on playing the game and don't want to read any spoilers, then click away right now. Shoo!

The rest of you, I wanna talk about how Rockstar Games chose to introduce us to Trevor Phillips, one of the three central characters in GTA V. Trevor is, as one trailer describes him a "real hillbilly" but there's more to the character than just that. There's also his booming meth amphetamines business! Trevor likes to cook and sell meth to all the yokels out in Blaine county, but there's one very unfortunate character who happens to be a customer of Trevor's. What did I say about spoilers? Here they come.... Last chance!

I was surprised at how many hours it took to meet Trevor in GTA V. I checked my stats page and I had racked up just over 6 hours between Michael and Franklin, the other two protagonists in Rockstar's latest, but Trevor laid in wait somewhere in the dust and grime of Blaine County. While I had fun in those early hours exploring the expansive Los Santos cityscape and getting familiar with Franklin's friend Lamar and Michael's family, I was dying to meet Trevor.

Trevor seems to play to the stereotypical GTA player, one with a total lack of maturity and an affinity for repeating the things characters say in GTA games. You know, like "fuck" and "shit" and "cock". All that stuff. Of course, I've been desperately hoping that Trevor displays more depth than that and at the point I'm at in GTA V, he has... sort of. Trevor has layers, like an onion or an ogre or whatever, but more importantly he's guarded and his motivations aren't entirely clear.

What is clear about Trevor in his first seconds on screen is that he's an incredibly unlikable asshole with total disregard for everything and everyone. You get in Trevor's way and he's likely to drop his trousers and stick something unfriendly in your ear after lopping off some body part or another. Or, if you're Grand Theft Auto IV DLC lead Johnny Klebitz, he might fuck your girlfriend before stomping the life out of your skull. Don't remember Johnny? He's the main character of GTA IV side-story The Lost and Damned, leader of The Lost biker gang, and one of the more sympathetic characters I've ever met in a GTA game.

In The Lost and Damned, Johnny's just trying to hold his brotherhood of bikers together in light of leader Billy Grey being a total drug addict and psychopath, bent on war with rival gang The Angels of Death. Sure, The Lost still deal in fairly ugly behavior, but Johnny is more interested in keeping the peace. What makes Johnny even more sympathetic is his relationship with another drug addict, Ashley Butler. Ashley's hopeless addiction eventually leads to their split, but not before revealing an intensely caring side of Johnny.

In the mission Coming Down, Johnny saves Ashley from a crack house and on the ride home Ashley expresses the desire to ride away from Liberty City with Johnny, to escape all of their problems together by riding off into the sunset. Niko Bellic's passive endorsement and eventual descent back into the life of crime he wanted to leave left me cold and Luis Lopez was too busy practicing his dance moves for me to care. But Johnny? Johnny had a way of saying things that made sense, that came from a place of reason and calm.

Despite Johnny's aversion to drugs in The Lost and Damned, he and Ashley are hopelessly addicted to Trevor's meth amphetamines in Grand Theft Auto V. That's why Trevor is having intercourse with Ashley. That's why Johnny stammers and claims that, despite their affinity for crystal meth, it's not right that Trevor was having sex with Ashley. That's why what happens next seems so unfitting of Johnny. That's why GTA V's introduction to Trevor made me sad and started the character's story with an emotional deficit where I was totally prepared to really like him.

Trevor chokes Johnny and throws him to the ground before stomping Johnny's skull in. Later, Trevor picks a piece of Johnny's brains off his boot and uses it to instigate a major shoot out with other Lost gang members back at their trailer park. Rockstar's never brought a previous game's character back for their new game, at least not in a speaking role. I guess it makes sense for Johnny to exist in San Andreas in some form or another, but it depressed me to learn of his fall from grace, his continued dedication to Ashley (even going so far as to join her in her addiction), and his immediate and gruesome death.

I'm still playing Grand Theft Auto V for GameRevolution's review. I'm taking my time and playing as I would normally, exploring the world and getting distracted as necessary, but now I'm waiting for something else. I'm waiting for anything to redeem Trevor Phillips, a character I want to like but can't seem to forgive.

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