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A reminder of the rules of Fridge Brilliance:

This is a personal moment for the viewer, so every example is signed by the contributor. If you start off with "This Troper", really, you have no excuse. We're going to hit you on the head.

This revelation can come from anywhere, even from this very page.

Also, this page is of a generally positive nature, and a Fridge Brilliance does not have to be Word Of God. In fact, it usually isn't, and the viewer might be putting more thought into it than the creator ever did. This is not a place for personal commentary on another's remark or arguing without adding a Fridge Brilliance comment of your own.

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  • Lieutenant General Shepherd's name. After losing 30,000 lives in the Middle East and hearing the reaction of the world, he decides to unite the people of the US into a war against the Ultranationalists. A shepherd is a person who leads or guides sheep, either with herding dogs (An actual threat-The invasion of the US) or by deception (A bag of feed that the sheep follow-Using TF 141 to gain information and betray them to make himself a war hero, and eliminating any links between him and his actions.) He was buried in Arlington, therefor he deceived the entire US.
  • At first, Modern Warfare 2 seems to have a ton of plot holes, until you go back through the game and look at everything from the perspective that General Shepherd is plotting to betray everyone by working with Makarov, and the Russians were planning to invade the US anyway. Suddenly, a lot of stuff makes a whole lot more sense, like how PFC Allen joins Makarov's group so quickly, how Shepherd knew how to reach Rojas, how the Russians managed to get inside the United States so quickly even without the ACS, how the Russians so quickly latched onto the presence of an American agent as an excuse to invade the US, and why Shepherd kills Ghost and Roach once they have Makarov's intel cache - which would doubtless implicate Shepherd in assisting Makarov.
  • Why doesn't the US just nuke Russia in retaliation for the invasion? It seems odd that a standing military policy of deterrence would be suddenly abandoned, even in the face of potential MAD. Except thirty thousand Americans already died in a nuclear detonation five years previously in the first Modern Warfare game. Considering the United States military and public's current sensitivity to casualties, losing that many men to nuclear weapons would scar the collective American consciousness with a tragedy that would probably make use of nuclear weapons even more taboo than normal.
    • Also consider that the Russians surprise attack the Washington D.C. area and presumably kill several high-level politicians. They might not have had the necessary codes to launch the things (They probably tightened up their own nuclear security in response to the rogue launch in "No Fighting in the War Room"), especially since you search the President's bunkers and the White House and can't find him. Also, the Russians cracked the Americans' satellite codes. If any of the missiles were guided or controlled by satellites, the Americans can't be sure they'll go where they were pointed.
  • In Modern Warfare 2, the infamous "No Russian" line. Someone just told me what it meant- Don't speak in Russian, speak in English so that it sounds like the attackers are American! The body and weapons make it even more damning! There's also the "You can only walk in that level" terrible joke explaination...
  • This Troper had a moment of gameplay Fridge Brilliance in Modern Warfare 2. Like everyone else, I was pissed that Captain Price set off the nuclear missile towards Washington at the end of Contingency, even after he uses it as an EMP to knock out power, including the red dot sights on your guns. While story-wise it doesn't make much sense, I suddenly realized that, by creating a justification for limiting the effectiveness of aiming down the sights, Infinity Ward was able to increase the difficulty curve naturally, without resorting to Fake Difficulty tactics like Russian soldier spamming or trial and error fight composition.
  • The introduction screen, with all the various connections being made across the map, was Fridge Brilliance in a way: General Shepard and Makerov were really two sides of the same coin: Makarov hated Americans, and building on the Russia Zakhaev built up, he faked a terrorist attack to insight Russia to war. Shepard on the other hand, made sure the defenses where down enough to allow the war to begin; he wanted a reason to invade Russia as vengance for Zakhaev. Zakhaev in turn nuked the American soilders in Iraq as vengance against Captain Price, would blew his arm off with a sniper rifle. It's fridge brilliance because 1 shot changed the fate of the world in a way, showing how one event can lead to hundreds of unforseen possibilities.-The Great Cool Energy
    • Zakhaev, Makarov, Shepherd... And I think you're putting too much weight on personal vengeance. Besides, how would killing American soldiers be revenge against an Englishman? I would also pose that Shepherd wanted a war in order to re-etablish American military culture, rather than to get revenge against Zakhaev (who was already dead).
      • Your point on Shepherd is right, but not so on Zakhaev. Zakhaev, simply put, hates the West as a whole and identifies the constituent parts of it as but fairly unimportant parts of the whole (he even spells it right out: "Our leaders prostituted us to the West"), and even when identifying them by those parts does not identify them alone (he demands that all American AND British soldiers evacuate Russia or else he will fire the nukes). As such, since the British SAS and the USMC are both Western, a strike by one is a strike by both and all the others, and vice versa for a strike against one.
    • Also, I just realised that the name "Shepherd" is perhaps a warning of the fact his leadership depends on blindness (i.e., not asking questions) on the part of his followers... Following like sheep, because they haven't seen his plot.
  • At first, the way Shepherd kills Roach seems needlessly sadistic, and just an excuse to prove that Shepherd is really a Complete Monster, until one considers all of Roach's insanely close close calls, like losing his grip on the ice wall in the first level, falling off the rooftop in Rio and getting hit in the head by falling rubble in the Gulag, and surviving every time. Clearly, Shepherd knows just how hard this man is to kill.
    • Why do you think his nickname is "Roach?"
    • There's also the use of the cigar. When we're first introduced to Roach, we see Soap smoking a cigar. When Roach goes out (because the magnum didn't kill him), it's with a cigar. It's a book end.
  • Something about Sergeant Foley's personality and military tactics really annoyed Theenglishman Me. For one thing, the role was completely at odds with his voice actor's usual characters, and Foley himself was painstakingly formal. Between being a stickler for rules and military etiquette (even in the middle of pitched battle, where he presumably would not be able to have a leash on all of his men) to rarely, if ever, posing interrogatives to Mission Control, and always agreeing with his superiors, even when he was well out of earshot. I reasoned that this style of command would be necessary in Afghanistan in order to bolster the United States' reputation as benevolent invaders, killing only the Not!Taliban with minimal civilian casualties. But it seemed like exactly the wrong kind of person to organize the defense of Washington DC from Zerg Rushing Russians. An excellent example is at the start of Wolverines!, where Foley explicitly tells Ramirez not to engage a BTR full of bloodthirsty Russians who are high on anti-American hysteria because "they haven't acquired us!" But then it hit me: this is exactly the kind of person that General Shepherd would want in charge of both the defence of Washington DC and the off-screen, post-game counterattack of Moscow. The No Russian incident turned the entire world against America, and defending a Russian invasion of Washington while following Geneva to the letter would show the world that America was not the kind of nation to murder civilians in an airport. From Shepherd's point of view, Foley was the perfect Yes-Man who would never suspect that Shepherd was organizing the whole affair from the start (it's more or less implied that Soap, Nikolai and Price are the only men alive who know the truth about Shepherd and Makarov).
    • ...this troper always simply assumed that the player's squad didn't have any weapons that would allow them to kill the BTR, hence why Foley warns you not to gets its attention; cause then it'd shoot at you.
    • I had a realisation about Foley making Ramirez DO EVERYTHING: It's really a sort-of Actor Allusion. In Halo 2, the Arbiter, also played by Keith David, was the Covenant errand boy. Now he's the one giving orders. In Halo others tell Keith David's character to DO EVERYTHING. In Modern Warfare Keith David's character tells others to DO EVERYTHING! -- Gentlemens Dame 883
    • You're putting way too much importance on a single sergeant. Sgt. Foley did not organize the defense of Washington D.C. Generals did. Foley is not a yesman. Foley did everything in his power to win as quickly as he possibly could. Shepard did not need Foley for much. He just grabbed a random squad that was close enough to the HVI he sent them after. All of Foley's tactics make sense, the most important being DON'T DIE. All Shepard wanted was a war to fight. The only people truly privy to what he did were members of Shadow Company and completely loyal to Shepard or they were part of Task Force 141 and are dead, in the dark, or in hiding.
  • Just now, I realized that Price's actions in Modern Warfare 2, especially with what happened in Washington, D.C., seem a lot less of a shocking twist and more of a violent peak when keeping track of his actions in the first Modern Warfare being unstealthy in Prypiat before finding Imran Zakhaev (optional for the player, but maybe not for Price), thinking of beating info out of Sgt. Kamarov ("Not yet."), beating info out of Al-Asad (although I think this is more understandable than the other cases)...it seems to me that Price became a very impatient and ruthless soldier over the years, and the years in the gulag made things even worse.
  • Since there's no such thing as Fridge Humor (is there?), considering what happened in Modern Warfare 3, it looked like Makarov... dropped the Soap. With explosives, no less.
  • The Russian evidence for their casus belli appears to make little sense, particularly since Makarov is a well known figure and he loses two men besides Allen. But when I looked back at No Russians briefing scene, it hit me: Shepherd says Makarov "trades blood for money" and is not "loyal to a flag or country or any set of ideals" and you initially think that's wrong because he was part of the Ultranationlist Party. Then you realize that Makarov severed all ties from the ruling party and built that reputation deliberately as a form of Plausible Deniability so when he executed this mission the Russians could claim he and his men had been hired and that Allen was their handler from the CIA. -Obssesed Nuker
  • A minor one about 'No Russian' from a meta perspective, an undercover agent will end up shooting the civilians anyway to maintain his cover.
  • Another minor one, related to 'No Russian': Both times you deal with Makarov in the game, it is during a level involving airplanes. The first one, near the beginning, is in an airport. The last one, towards the end, is in an airplane boneyard, perhaps symbolizing how everything has fallen apart.
    • Also, the fight up to Makarov in the end of the third game begins with a slow walk to an Elevator.
    • How is Makarov first revealed in MW 3? Stepping out of a helicopter. 3 for 3 on Makarov and air transportation.
  • Shepherd's speech during the intros to S.S.D.D./Team Player are just standard Call of Duty Painting the Fourth Wall and exposition except after the betrayal, when they become a much more fleshed-out version of his Motive Rant in "Endgame"
  • Fridge Brilliance: Some of this in Modern Warfare 2 once the smaller details add up, and it all makes the storyline more depressing: General Shepherd doesn't die until after he's executed his main plan. His stated goal of galvanizing America into fighting for itself must succeed, considering the Russian invasion has already happened and been turned back. The only difference is, the job of heading up America's military response will go to someone else. It doesn't help that Price and Soap never actually clear their own names and kill Shepherd while being considered terrorists themselves.
    • Shepherd notes in the second cutscene that "We can't give you your freedom, but we can teach you how to acquire it for yourselves, and that, my friends, is worth more than a whole Army base of steel." This seems forgettable at first because the Justified Tutorial takes the form of the player training local milita but he's actually talking about the American population and his goals for using an invasion to galvanize the nation and inspire a huge boost in enlistment.
  • Private Allen is more tragic than he appears at first; because Shepherd's been orchestrating the whole thing, Allen was dead from the get-go, and committed an atrocity he thought would help prevent something even worse down the line, only for it to be part and parcel of Shepherd's Batman Gambit.
  • How does TF 141 turn into a Redshirt Army, despite being made of the best fighting men on the planet? Note how Shepherd uses MacTavish and Roach's assault on the Ultranationalist base as an example to the rest of the men - "Two men take on an entire base. I expect more from you." An excuse to constantly have them sent against overwhelming odds (and have them nicely cleaned out when he finally brings in Shadow Company).
  • PFC Allen joining Makarov's gang seems to move too fast. The Russians react to Makarov's killing of Allen too quickly. The Russians mobilize for the invasion of the United States too quickly. Then it becomes apparent that Makarov was working with Shepherd to skew Russian opinion against the United States, and the Ultranationalist-oriented government of Russia was preparing to invade the United States long before Allen was killed, as the Russians were already finished cracking the ACS module well before Soap and Roach got there - and Shepherd may have in fact deliberately delayed their retrieval so the Russians could pull it off. Looking at the entire game through the lens of Shepherd betraying the United States to Makarov and the Russians in a heavily-prepared gambit puts the entire game in a vastly different light.
  • Remember, during "The Gulag", when Shepherd said "The Navy's not in a talking mood"? Imagine if your home country was just invaded by fanatics of a military superpower and have murdered thousands of civilians and you're finally being given a chance at revenge (a running theme in this game). Shepherd's not stalling them; they're too blinded by revenge and anger to lay off.
  • The helicopters that the Russians fire at in "Exodus"? They are evacuating civilians.
  • Why did the Russians attack Washington DC and random civilian-heavy areas along the East Coast? Shepherd used Makarov's influence to set them up to fail, so the safety of the plan is ensured. Plus the Russians are furious about the airport attack and it's stated that they wanted a thousand dead Americans for every victim of the attack.
    • Don't forget that the Ultranationalists already have a history of committing massacres on their own populace, and they actually hate Americans.
  • The Americans seem awfully hesitant to nuke Russia in retaliation for a land invasion. Except that thirty thousand Americans have already been killed in nuclear fire five years previously. That kind of an atrocity leaves a serious mental scar on the collective American consciousness, and it may explain why the US didn't nuke Russia, for fear of MAD.
    • Also, Shepherd does tell his superiors that Makarov, not Russia as a whole, is responsible for the nuke. Regardless of how badly the grunts want to counter-invade, it would make sense that Shepherd's sold the people who actually make decisions on the idea that despite everything, Makarov is the enemy and not Russia.
  • So hey, Shadow Company. A group of American soldiers that dress all in black and are amoral as all hell. They also seem to answer directly to General Shepard. It took me about five minutes to realize they are essentially Blackwater made official.
  • A lot of stuff about the nuke going off above DC doesn't make sense, until you realize one thing: it isn't one nuke, it's six. The MIRVs never separated.
  • With the same nuke, you may notice something is off when you start the next mission. There's no music. When the mission after that starts, and you are told that the White House still has power, the music comes back. A subtle hint that the music provides, that there's only music when there's power.
    • The loading screen for the final mission indicates Price is already considered an international terrorist, despite only having tried to kill Shepard just five minutes ago. Then you remember that nuke he set off; destroying the International Space Station, not to mention killing thousands of American soldiers and civilians with the E.M.P. blast which, while shutting down the Russian war machine, would also have caused all the transport helicopters being used by the Americans to evacuate civilians to crash, while also turning every American tank and BTR into a metal coffin.
      • Except that modern battle-tanks and APCs are shielded against the majority of the effects of EMP damage. They also contain backup hydraulic control systems just in case the computer-aided electronic controls stop functioning. And if that fails, hatches are always hydraulically operated anyways, allowing crews to escape. Modern helicopters have a small amount of shielding, but would be nigh uncontrollable anyways, forcing a quick and dirty touchdown, assuming they survive the shockwave of the explosion itself.
  • A recurring theme throughout the series is the different between the armed forces of America and Britain. America's missions are generally about desperate, large-scale fights through amazing Scenery Gorn, and eventually either dying or triumphing over impossible odds, whereas Britain's soldiers usually spend their time crawling through dark places, slitting throats and performing some questionable acts. So how does MW 3 represent this? By having the new British and American PCs' names being Burns and Frost. Awesome.
  • Fridge Horror: Those transport helicopters evacuating civilians you spent the entire mission Of Their Own Accord protecting? Price killed them all when he set off the E.M.P., which would have caused all the copters to shut off mid-air and crash. Talk about Shooting the Dog. Not to mention all the U.S. servicemen who would have suffocated inside their tanks and armored fighting vehicles, just like the Russian soldiers suffering the same fate in Second Sun.
  • Remember al-Asad? They guy mentioned above under the Dirty Coward trope? Take a closer look at the posters and walls during the first mission in Modern Warfare 2. The man who nukes his own capital is being remembered as a martyr. Similarly, Modern Warfare 3 has, at one point, several news headlines. In one of them, General Shepherd is recorded as buried in Arlington.
  • Soap's death seems to come out of nowhere initially, because he's the walking embodiment of Made of Iron and falling off a building alone shouldn't be enough to kill him. But keep in mind that the injuries he suffered at the end of the second game never had time to fully heal, and he's still running around on those barely-patched up wounds. The fall just exacerbated that condition to the point that his body couldn't take it anymore.
    • The thing is that Soap was injured by General Shepherd in April of 2016 according to Modern Warfare 3 and he and Price come out of hiding months later (if I recall correctly in October) meaning most of his injuries should have healed by then. I mean the Call of Duty protagonists on average go through the kind of injuries that would incapacitate even some of the best trained soldiers in the world for months if not years if it didn't outright kill them. Besides Soap's death comes out of nowhere when he had survived through much worse and he was more or less built up as the main protagonist of the Modern Warfare trilogy if it had to happen it should have waited until the very end of the game when it would have had more thematic gravity to the story.
      • August, actually, not April. I don't know if it's a retcon, but it's a little less than two months. Also, Anyone Can Die in a war. "Thematic gravity" is largely irrelevant, IMO. I don't agree that still being in recovery for a serious wound, being blown out of a building, then falling several stories to the ground, then being dragged a good distance across town while people shoot at him is "out of nowhere". The only thing that was protecting him from the previous injuries is plot. Plot giveth, and plot taketh away.
  • Makarov, despite being almost always impeccably dressed, never wears a necktie of any sort. Price finally puts one (of a sort) on him in the climax of the third game, leading directly to the villain's death.
  • All the games' endings are examples of Call of Duty's motto "No One Fights Alone" in action: In 4 You need Griggs to drag out of the flames from the car and (unintentionally) into a position to shoot Zakhaev, the Loyalists to distract Zakhaev, Price to give you the pistol, and the Loyalists again to extract you. In MW2 you need Price to save you from Shepherd, and then you need to save Price, then you need Price and Nikolai to save you. In MW3 Yuri distracts and wounds Makarov, allowing Price to finish him off. They both needed Nikolai and juggernaut suits for their rampage to work.
    • Another way you could spin it is that the reason why the antagonists of the series, Zakahev, General Shepherd, and Makarov all failed because they were lonely men with lofty ambitions. When you spend too much time looking over your shoulder for an enemy you lose sight of the friends you have right in front of you, they made enemies of everyone and didn't rely on anyone but themselves, their plans were doomed to fail as a result.
    • "It doesn't take the most powerful nations on Earth to create the next global conflict. Just the will of a single man." -Makarov. Technically correct, but also his eventual downfall.
    • Double fridge brilliance: The only group of antagonists to work together were the Four Horsemen of Call of Duty 4. And who had the most success of the enemies you faced?
  • The absence of Ramierz and his Army Ranger buddies may seem jarring at first, given how the ending foreshadowed a quick and decisive response against Russia, but the 75th Ranger Regiment and Delta Force are closely linked together in the Special Forces community (both are part of the U.S Army) and both serve the role of direct and decisive action in war. Elite units like the Delta Force and Navy Seals are the first responders in sensitive situations, they would be the first among an invasion force led by U.S Forces and would handle all of the most high-value missions like counter-terrorism, hostage rescue, assassination, etc. This essentially means that the Delta Force isn't too far off from what we were playing in the last game and for all we know a guy like Ramierz from the Ranger team may be fighting by your side in the campaign.
  • Soap's death by Makarov's hand creates a hilarious pun when you couple it with Price killing Makarov at the end. Makarov dropped the "soap" and paid the price!
  • Makarov is pretty much the Angel of Death of the Call of Duty series. Whenever he shows up, a someone important (usually a PC) dies. Chronological order: He's probably around for the Coup. Al-Fulani dies. He detonates the nuke that kills Jackson (and Vasquez). He's there (duh) at No Russian, a massacre, and kills Allen, after attempting to kill Yuri. He gives Price and Soap the intel that allows them to kill Shepherd (and the wound Soap suffers in the process certainly doesn't help him). During Turbulence, he kills Harkov and his squadmates. During Blood Brothers, he kills Kamarov and Soap (moment of silence). During the last level, he kills Yuri before meeting his end. The one exception is during One Shot, One Kill. This is double fridge brilliance: first of all, it's before his descent into violent insanity. Second of all, even the Angel of Death spares people.
  • During Yuri's flashback Makarov tells him, "I know what you have done, Yuri. I know what you have told them." The implication? Yuri was the one who told Shepherd about the massacre, and allowed him to start World War III by attempting to prevent it, just like Allen.
  • Why does Vorshevsky and Vorshevsky alone have the Russian nuclear launch codes? Because Russian nuclear security has been compromised three times already; twice by Zakhaev (the nuke in al-Asad's capital and the silos) and again by Price. By keeping absolute personal control over those codes, he ensures that another incident like Zakhaev or Price launching missiles won't happen again. And it works.
  • The SAS in the level you played survived. Why? If you look closely you can see that they are all wearing gas masks. The blasts weren't that large, so only the ones that were close to the truck died. There's still a large SAS squadron out there, and their the reason why Russia failed to invade Britain.
    • This is actually accurate, as SAS operatives wear gas masks All The Time, even in training - Something no other force does that I know of. Dai-Guard (talk)
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