Ethan’s Severed Hand Is More Than A Gory Resident Evil Gag

Here we have a “normal” severed hand.
Here we have a “normal” severed hand.
Screenshot: Capcom / Kotaku

We’ve established by now that Resident Evil Village puts protagonist Ethan Winters through a great deal of unpleasantness. But the already-iconic visual of Ethan’s hand being slashed and sliding off isn’t just a good running gag or Capcom at its most masochistic. It’s also a clue to an end-game twist.

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Spoilers for the end of Resident Evil 7 Biohazard and Resident Evil Village to follow.

Illustration for article titled Ethan’s Severed Hand Is More Than A Gory Resident Evil Gag

A fair amount of plot armor is to be expected in any game, but if you questioned just how easily Ethan could shrug off his grievous injuries, you likely felt vindicated by the end.

In an M. Night Shyamalan-level twist, we learn that Ethan was actually killed during the events of Resident Evil 7 and infected and reanimated by the Mold in the Baker house. With this information, certain details become more profound upon a second playthrough. For instance, when Lady Dimitrescu comments that Ethan’s blood is going “stale” when she takes a taste.

That comment could be written off as a reference to his weakened state. But it’s harder to explain the condition of his hand. After Lady Dimitrescu slices his limb right off, you, as Ethan, take your hand and store it with your key items. There, you can examine it from all angles and see that, huh, the flesh inside is actually rather...moldy.

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And here we see it’s a moldy severed hand.
Screenshot: Capcom / Kotaku
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I might have missed this detail even if I did inspect that hand my first time playing, but now it unmistakably looks like a loaf of bread forgotten in the kitchen cabinet for too long. Yum.

I love when a game makes it worth the time to go back and experience the story with new eyes, especially ones as replayable as Resident Evil games. I’ll be keeping an open eye for more clues.

DISCUSSION

soildsnake
Soild Snake

4Resident Evil has always had a lot of goofy and absurd sprinkled in with its horror. Sometimes it becomes hard to tell if something is a plot point or just some of that random absurdity.

I (and probably a lot of other people) suspected this was Ethan’s condition all the way back in 7. Maybe not the whole “you are already dead!” part, but at the very least I assumed he wasn’t a normal human being after his exposure to the Bakers. There are enough hints in 8 about his weird physiology in the first and second sections that by the time he was leaving the castle I was pretty certain that the hand thing wasn’t just a joke and that he was at least part mold.