Addressing Some Plot Holes in Methods
Updated: Aug 30, 2021
Since Methods has been getting so much attention recently, some plot holes and unexplained things were brought up, so I thought I'd clarify them here.
I'll add to this post if any others come up.
Proceed with caution.
Mellie and Larika
Question: Game-master Mellie and Larika Downs (Haney) were both in the mysterious Canadian detective competition together, so why didn't Larika immediately recognize Mellie when she appeared undercover in the competition?
Explanation: This wasn't addressed in the story because I honestly completely overlooked it! In the original novel, Mellie was an American. I changed it later when I decided that all the Game-masters would be involved in past or upcoming competitions, but I forgot about this plot hole.
Answer: The canon explanation I've come up with is that the Canadian competition was structured differently. With each contest, Conver changes the rules and improves it. In the Canadian competition, detectives were split into "teams" from the start, sort of like the Classes in the American competition's third stage, and not allowed to see or talk to each other. There were "showdowns" between each team until the best team won. In the Fifth Stage, two remaining teams were broken up and each detective was on their own — like the American competition's Fifth Stage. It was only then that the detectives from separate teams met each other.
Conver decided to abandon that complicated, isolated approach for the American competition and allowed all the detectives to intermingle, and be paired in twos instead.
In short, Larika didn't recognize Mellie because Mellie was in a separate team that was eliminated before Larika could meet her in the Fifth Stage.
Question: What is Greg/Kane/Clark's methods? And does Conver have a method?
Explanation: This isn't addressed in the story simply because it isn't really necessary as the Game-masters, other than Mellie, don't use their methods to run the contest.
Answer: Conver has a method, which has something to do with puzzles — that's all I can say about it really. I haven't thought about what methods Clark and Kane have, but I did come up with one for Greg.
Greg's method is Paperwork — he's able to sort through tedious paperwork at lightning speed, due to having a strange obsession with boring things. Generally, Greg is able to organize things very well, recognize patterns quickly, and see through legal jargon. His skill at organization helps him find and sort evidence as well. While it seems like a useless method at first, its broad applications make Greg a surprisingly good detective.
The Fourth Stage
Question: What happened on the detective side in the Fourth Stage?
Explanation: The perspective shifts to show the criminal side of the contest for the entire Fourth Stage, so you don't get to see what happens.
Answer: Some interesting things, though not as exciting as what happened on the criminal side. 785 and Nell had a somewhat respectful farewell as Nell was eliminated before the Fifth Stage. Selete needed to be locked in one of the prison cells. Ashdown and Woes struggled with the challenges of the Fourth Stage and were eliminated early on (on the "Stay in the Contest" route). Roel was paired with a troublesome detective named Quire. You know, fairly mundane stuff compared to Catscratcher executing an impossible and difficult plan to rise in the ranks. The most exciting part of the detective side, the revelation that some of the Game-masters were criminals, was shown in the story, so you didn't miss much! Though I do wish some more character moments had gotten in there.
Question: Why do some of the detectives' methods seem like supernatural abilities?
Explanation: Certain characters, like Red July, Asper, Everreave, Ether, Honor, Larika, and Killersoul have a method/modus that seems too powerful to exist in real life.
Answer: Methods takes place in a stylized, heightened version of reality, so even though "in real life" they would be superpowers, it's not out of step with the world of Methods. But other than that, I see Red July's method, which is the most extreme probably, as being extremely rare and insular. She is kind of a savant. It's like her brain was made for mysteries. She can literally do nothing but solve them — she has no other interests. And she's been doing this for a really long time. I don't think it's that far-fetched, or super-powered really, taking that into consideration. After all, in real life, there are people who are born with amazing natural talents all the time. And keep in mind that the mysteries in the contest aren't exactly the most difficult puzzles ever — her skills in the world outside the contest are not as impressive. Still far better than the average detective though.
Larika's method is something she over-exaggerated a little. I see it as more that she's like a "tracker" — she spots details others miss and is able to hunt down objects. It's not really an ability to know where an object is anywhere in space and time. After all, there was an obvious bloodstain in the closet, so it wasn't like she needed a special power to put two and two together.
Similarly, Everreave, Asper and Ether are over-exaggerating their abilities. As is hinted at, Everreave has no special powers and uses the Ouija board as a gimmick. She's just pretending it has powers. Ether's method doesn't really work — as you can tell, she's mostly relying on her own smarts to solve the mystery. Asper is operating under a gambler's fallacy — he thinks he's especially lucky because he got a few guesses right in a row.
Killersoul has a big, or should I say, thin, secret he's not telling anyone. That's all I'll say about his "superpower".
Honor's method has its limits — they can't imitate absolutely everyone, and certainly not perfectly. But they are very good at imitating Red July.
In short, in Methods, there are no such things as superpowers, just very skilled people, or people who are lying.
772's Real Name
Question: What happened to the Game-masters knowing about 772's real name?
Explanation: In Chapter 29, there's a big cliffhanger about 772's name being known by the Game-masters, but then the story shifts to Ashdown and the subject is never brought up again.
Answer: I think there's definitely a potentially interesting story about 772's name and how he feels about the Game-masters knowing it that was lost when I switched over to Ashdown, however, the conflict there — of the Game-masters being untrustworthy, and the detectives being under surveillance — is still developed in the story. So perhaps it would feel redundant. It's a remnant from my original plan for that arc which was to switch back to Mellie and 772 after Ashdown's chapters to explore the "772's name" plot. But I didn't have a plan for what that plot would be because I was making it up as I went.
As for what 772's name is, I was going to reveal it was "Ritsker Blashy", but later thought it would be better to keep it a mystery. 772 disguising himself as "Ritsker Blashy" is actually a meta inside joke about how that was going to be his real name.
I guess the best way to think of it is as a red herring — the perfect way to start a stage all about red herrings. Maybe at some point I'll add a line somewhere referencing it as a little bookend so it's not as unsatisfying.
Conver's Big Plan
Question: What is the mystery Conver is talking about?
Explanation: The story ends after Chapter 100, and the mystery is teased as something the contests were designed to help solve, but what it is is not explained.
Answer: The "great big mystery" is not important to the plot of Methods, it's a MacGuffin. It drives some of the characters but it does not need to be explained for the story to be enjoyable (in my opinion). That is why I chose not to reveal it.
Spotted any other plot holes or things I should've explained? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!