You can't write a better line to precede it... (Destiny)

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Monday, April 11, 2022, 11:37 (412 days ago) @ Robot Chickens

...because there isn't a line preceding it. Arby is responding to the Chief having charged forth and stuck a pistol into his mouth. He gave himself up to avoid escalating the moment, and the "it" is the Chief getting the better of him.

Arby is not primarily making a response to Johnson. The camera even cuts Johnson out of the frame with the appropriate timing to make it look like Arby is slamming the line straight at the Chief's face. There's some ambiguous potential for secondary meaning with respect to Johnson's line, but it's not where the main energy of the scene is going.

This is the best, most compelling interpretation of the line I've ever read. Too bad it's fan fiction, because there is a line preceding it, and that is part of the context in which the line is delivered, and the poor set up detracts from your thesis.

A second attempt at a rewrite that serves your narrative.

Johnson: Come on, Chief. For our sake, don't kill an ally.

Arbiter: Were it so easy.

I just watched the scene again to make sure my mind wasn't playing tricks on me. I see what you are saying in that Johnson's line immediately precedes it. On the other hand, it feels like he's a spectator in the drama happening with Arby and the Chief. While Johnson's line is there, the Arbiter is responding to the Chief's actions. I've always interpreted it this way so I don't think it's a super niche way of reading the scene.

With good writing he could be responding to both. Giving uberfoop credit that the Arbiter's primarily talking to the Chief, Johnson's line doesn't have to make the Arbiter's line into a non sequitur.

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