Albert Wesker – Resident Evil 0-5, Umbrella Chronicles
inferior beings kids! If you missed Part 1, take a minute to read it. If you’ve got a good handle on Wesker’s story, let’s go to the Why of his What.
To understand how Wesker can help us succeed in life, we have to understand Wesker. And in understanding him, we might just understand ourselves better.
You’ll be hard pressed to find anyone – villain or otherwise – cooler, calmer, and more calculating than Albert Wesker. He’s always the Man with the Plan, able to snatch a victory out of devastation.
How did he become such a boss of a villain? I could attribute it to being trained to be an Umbrella Corp employee/researcher from a young age and working for the company for a number years. I could give the credit to the Prototype virus that he injected himself with. But those are the evidences of a character that is inborn. It’s who he is.
INTJs: Setting the standard in Villainy:
Wesker is the quintessential INTJ on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. The test uses functions to classify people into 16 basic types. (Read the researchers’ book* if you want to know how they developed the system.) They’re scary accurate, and I dare you to take the test. I am an INTJ as well, which explains my appreciation of Wesker and villains in general. INTJ stands for the four main Functions involved in the type: Introversion, iNtuition, Thinking, Judging. Described as Architects and Masterminds, we are systems builders who work tirelessly on our goals, using whatever means/ideas that are productive. We live by logic and reason, eschew being ruled by feelings, and would rather spend time alone than with a herd.
None of this means INTJs are unfeeling robots, though. Emotions may be powerful, but an INTJ will step back and analyze the cause of the feeling rather than being ruled by it. If it’s logical to feel a certain way, and it it does not interfere with the INTJ’s goals, then the emotion is accepted.
INTJs are quite passionate about the causes that interest them and will build systems to help them further their interests. What interests Wesker is power. He works relentlessly to build his power base. He institutes a system to achieve his goals: get Umbrella’s research data, then sell it to the competition in order to fund his own research and sample acquisition efforts.
INTJs are usually happier alone, but they work well with people who share their mindset and goals. When we first meet Wesker, he’s with his research partner and friend William Birkin. I think there’s evidence for William being an INTP type. They’ve known each other since they were mid teens. I hear you say, “Friends?” The fact that Wesker hasn’t strangled Birkin in their time together, despite Birkin’s risk taking, grudges against superiors, and excitability, speaks volumes.
Birkin gives him the Prototype virus sample that Wesker eventually injects himself with. This virus saves Wesker’s life and gives him superhuman speed, strength, intellect, reflexes, regeneration, endurance, and resistance. Birkin, on the other hand, injects himself with the G-virus and mutates uncontrollably. In a way, Wesker’s powers are a gift from his friend who was not able to bond with a virus. Wesker carries on where his partner left off, doing what Birkin could not – with the virus in his body and with the virus research.
Kill them all:
One of Wesker’s “special traits” is his penchant for killing people who become problematic. Marcus (that was on orders from Spencer, but still..), Enrico, Sergei, Spencer, by proxy the Alpha and Bravo Teams, Javier, Rockford Islands inhabitants- The list goes on! How does he do it? Is it sociopathic or psychopathic tendencies? Doubtful. Even before the virus, Wesker considered himself superior to the rest of the human race. Actually, he has good reason! Genius-level IQ, physical strength, combat and weapon skills, position in Umbrella Corp and STARS… I’d be cocky too. Though Wesker doesn’t know it, Spencer chose him because Spencer considered Albert a superior human and thus a candidate to undergo the next step in human evolution through the Prototype virus. It’s this superiority that gives Wesker the confidence and cold-hearted efficiency to undertake his plans and call the undertaker for his enemies.
Except for Chris:
If he’s so superior and has no qualms about putting a bullet in bothersome people’s skulls, why is Chris Redfield, his arch rival, still on this side of the sod? Chris is a hardheaded, independent, strong man who doesn’t get along with authority. He was Wesker’s subordinate in STARS. Let the headbutting commence! Chris is a talented marksman and combat operator. I think he impressed Wesker. It’s my theory that Wesker sees something in Chris. On a subconscious level, maybe Wesker wants to see how great a challenge Chris can become. After all, Wesker’s had numerous chances to kill Chris. Wesker excuses the lapses in his murder reflex by citing lack of time, presence of explosions, etc. Sure. Right. You can dodge bullets, but you don’t have time to snap Chris’s spine? Not buying it – not even with a coupon.
I think Wesker needs Chris like Joker needs Batman. In the Batman the Animated Series episode “The Man Who Killed Batman,” Joker is pretty bummed by the news that his rival and playmate is “dead.” (Go to Under the Mask for an amazing podcast episode with host and psychologist Dr. Andrea Letamendi on that and every other B:TAS episode.) Wesker seems to enjoy the challenge Chris poses. The more he can screw with Chris’s life while not killing him – not yet anyway, because he doesn’t have time – the happier Wesker is. When Chris is able to put up a good fight, no matter how futile in proves to be, Wesker seems impressed. Without Chris around, how would Wesker show off? Their first reunion after the Mansion Incident is telling: Wesker gets off on revealing that he survived, and then by showing how superior he’s become.
He also seems to have a “soft spot” for Jill Valentine. And by that I mean he’d rather use her as a living pawn than bury her as a dead enemy. He goes through the trouble of getting her back to health after she tackles him out the window of Spencer’s European mansion and over a cliff. His reasoning was that he’d use her against Chris later. It’s a good plan on paper, one that really twists the knife in Chris. It would have worked in practice, too, if Wesker hadn’t left her to fight Chris.
Just thinking there was an opportunity or two there to kill Chris quickly. Just sayin’…
The surviving STARS members are the only people he interacts with, that we know of, who’ve seen him before his viral rebirth. Who better to give him affirmation, even if they’re unaware they’re doing it? He seems to feed off their surprise and horror at his abilities and actions.
Rivals: they’re not pets:
Ever had a rival you enjoyed “playing with”? Every accomplishment is sweeter when you can rub it in their face. But it’s not wise to let that superiority turn into gloating. Pride blinds you to the cliff you’re about to step off. Or, in Wesker’s case, the cliff Jill is about to tackle him off. How often do we keep people in our lives that we should cut out? We can’t kill them off like Wesker does, of course, but we’d be a lot better off if we cut ties. Rivals are no exception. Don’t let competition keep you from seeing the overall goal. Wesker let his need for a competitor keep him from realizing how much Chris interfered with Wesker’s plans for godhood. Showing off may have been fun, but finishing Chris once and for all would have been more efficient. This is one of the few flaws in Wesker’s otherwise perfectly precise, well-oiled machinations.
Chris aside, Wesker is fantastic at long-range planning. He sees opportunities in areas others think lost or too dangerous. For example: he tries to take Umbrella’s data from the Mansion. Yes, Sergei took it first, but there wasn’t exactly a pack of Umbrella employees battering down the Mansion doors to get it. Wesker knew he could sell the data to rival corporations. Most people would stop there, deciding to retire in Maui with their millions. Instead, Wesker uses the data to fund his larger plan: collect virus samples. (Wesker probably doesn’t get along well with the sun anyway). The samples will not only further his research, they will fund it.
I doubt this was all due to the virus program, either. Spencer picked him for Project Wesker because Spencer knew Albert would think like him. Wesker says, “The only thing that can defeat power is more power. That is the one constant in this universe. However, there is no point in power if it consumes itself.” This sounds a lot like Spencer. Don’t forget that Spencer orchestrated Wesker’s upbringing and education. Wesker’s childhood is a bit sketchy, but he was probably a driven person since early on. You don’t become a ranking Umbrella Corp researcher at the age of 17 by cutting class and giving your homework to the dog. Superior people like Albert are who Spencer needed to create his new world. Of course, Spencer failed to realized that people with superior intellect rarely remain content with subservience.
Seize the day, or the throat: Get a goal:
How many times has each of us kicked ourselves because we failed to look ahead? Sure, some people are content to take every day as it comes and lead a mediocre life, but you’re not one of them. Knowledge of the current situation and it variables is important, but a clear goal to work toward is the most important element. Don’t know what you want? Figure it out. Then you can shoot for that target.
Finding that goal isn’t as easy as it looks, is it. You have to know yourself inside and out. You have to explore new activities and places, meet new people. You never know what small event will turn the course of your whole life. Always be on the lookout for opportunities! This often involves stepping outside your comfort zone. Wesker left research, a department he’d been in since a teenager, to go into Umbrella’s intelligence department. He joined STARS, an elite police force like a SWAT team, as a captain. That’s a heck of a change from the lab. But he worked with it, and he worked hard. He was successful.
How to succeed: Work smart and hard:
I hate to say it, but there’s no substitute for hard work. Sure, work smarter, not harder, but you’re still working. Apply yourself, as Walter White would say. Also, figuring out how to work smarter usually takes work in itself. Say you want to revamp how the office does a task. You have to know the alternatives as well as what’s slowing the task down. There’s only so much work you can “smart” out of. Wesker put in overtime at the lab and the Raccoon City PD.
Even villains use people skills:
But even being wickedly intelligent and working like a dog only goes so far. Sadly, a lot of society revolves around politics. Workplace politics make or break careers every day. Wesker knew who to cozy up to: Spencer. He also knew who to keep on his team: Birkin. Wesker trusts no one, but he knows that it’s all about who you know. We’re not even touching on his network of contacts yet, either. Spencer chose Wesker and Birkin to act as his hired guns, murdering Marcus after the researcher outlived his usefulness. Neither of the blonds had a problem with this act. They seemed to enjoy it.
Besides knowing who’s favor to court, Wesker also knows who to hire and when to hire them. Let’s break that down. Unlike most villains, Wesker is careful to hire only the best. It pays off: Ada Wong gets him the G-Virus sample, and later Krauser and Ada help him secure the Plagas species. Yes, Ada semi-betrayed him, and Krauser died, but their efforts still helped him acquire the sample…from Krauser’s corpse. When Wesker attacked Rockfort, he used his own military force. If that’s not planning, I don’t know what is. When he allies with TRICELL, he sides with Excella Gionne and helps her rise to power. He leads her on in her romantic attraction to him and her desire to rule at his side.
Who you gonna call?
It’s difficult to get good help, but it is out there. You get what you pay for, most of the time. Need quality work done? Do your research and pick the best in the biz. Check reviews and qualifications. Ask around. Price is always an issue, but remember how much a crappy job can cost you.
Now, about when to hire help: Wesker recognized the times he either couldn’t be in a place himself or being there would be detrimental. How did he decide? Again, goes back to his main goal. Chasing down Sherry for the G Virus sample would slow him down. Also, he couldn’t be in two places at once. Going to South America to grab the Plagas Dominant Species from the Snakes would’ve seriously cut into his wheeling and dealing time. And while he’s amped up significantly on the virus, there’s always a chance he could be defeated. Yeah, he’s proud of his powers, but he’s not stupid.
If you want something done right…
So, when do you go it alone? Wesker took down Sergei himself. He also went to the Antarctic base alone. Both missions required his own special skill set. With Sergei, Wesker’s stealth and combat prowess made it a no brainer to go himself. I’m sure the bone he had to pick – or break – with Sergei also played a role. As for Alexia Ashford, he was relying on the fact that they’d previously been acquainted to earn him some points with her. He was impressed by her, too, and probably wanted to see her for himself. He kills Sergei but fails to win Alexia’s favor.
Some jobs only you can do for yourself. Know your skill set well, and you’ll have a better idea which missions are solo.
In the end:
Even though Wesker eventually fell to Chris and Sheva, or at least he did officially, he was the most successful villain of the Resident Evil franchise. More often than not he worked a victory out of a defeat. Resident Evil 5 saw him not only at his most intimidating physically, but also the height of his resources and corporate power. I don’t like where the writers went with that game, but it is what it is now. He was defeated, in my view, because he didn’t finish off his foes when he had the chance earlier. Chris was at his mercy numerous times, but Wesker didn’t didn’t snap his neck or put a bullet in his skull. Moral of that story: deal with your problems now rather than keeping them as “pets” or as issues you’ll “get around to.” They’ll get around to you before you get to them. They might not shoot RPGs at your face, but they’ll grow out of control and overwhelm you if you let them.
Overall, Wesker remains one of my all-time favorite villains, second only to David Xanatos from the animated series Gargoyles. Wesker’s dangerous because he’s intelligent and cold. This is what he relies on more than his viral abilities. He rarely succumbs to the usual villain flaws, other than not killing his arch rival and a bit of monologue-ing. I’d love to be even half as successful as Wesker.
♦ What does Albert Wesker represent?
Villains embody themes, morals, warnings, dangers. They are symbols and parables that help us live better.
So what about Albert Wesker? This is just my opinion, but I believe he embodies a number of themes:
- The result of seeking power alone.
- The danger of trading humanity for power.
- The danger of letting science run rampant without moral checks.
- The result of being focused on the ends and never the means.
- The danger of playing God.
- The danger of pride.
This isn’t exhaustive, of course.
♦ What Albert Wesker teaches us about how to succeed in life:
Know thyself. If you don’t know yourself, how do you know what you want?
Study hard at whatever you’re interested in. Study like you’ll actually need the information, because odds are you will need it.
Choose a goal and work toward it. I can’t stress this enough. Pick an achievable goal, by the way.
Work smart, but work hard. Put in the effort you need to be “smart.”
Work with the right people. The wrong people will ruin themselves and you.
Keep the right people on your side. Cultivate a team of reliable colleagues/friends.
Hire the right people. Don’t go for cheap. Spend the extra money to get a quality professional.
Know when you need to do a job yourself. Some things only you can do. Like prevent forest fire.
Face your problems promptly. Stop procrastinating. Do it today!
Don’t let rivalry blind you. It can be fun to compete, but don’t let the rival keep you from seeing the goal.
Use secrecy. Don’t broadcast everything you know.
Work with your enemies if you need to. It’s not permanent. You can defeat them later.
Know when to quit. Quitting saves careers. The exit is there for your safety.
Don’t be afraid to think big. Expand your horizons!
Think outside the box. Get out there and try a new solution.
Take risks. Nothing invested, nothing gained. Nothing happens if you sit in your room.
Seek opportunities. You have to go looking. Sometimes they drop in your lap, but even then you have to recognize them.
Stay fit. Get off the couch!
♦ Mach(iavelli) Tip:
“If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.”
♦ Tzu Tip:
“Move swift as the Wind and closely-formed as the Wood. Attack like the Fire and be still as the Mountain.”
♦ Further reading:
♦ TV Tropes:
Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments. Perform your own villain assessments with the Villain Matrix. Use the Villain Matrix spreadsheet that comes free when you join the Research Team, where you’ll also get our newsletter with its exclusive updates and content.
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