Thanks to Scott Baird of ScreentRants.com for the inspiration!
15. THE QUISTIS APOLOGY MISSION
Quistis Trepe is supposed to be one of the smartest people in Balamb Garden. She was considered to be a child prodigy and completed the SeeD exam at the age of fifteen. Quistis would later go on to become a teacher at the Garden, though she would step down from this position and become a regular member of SeeD again.
One of the most frustrating scenes in Final Fantasy VIII involves Quistis being incredibly dumb. The group has taken on the incredibly dangerous and secretive mission to kill the Sorceress Edea. This involves impeccable strategy and timing, as they are assassinating a foreign ambassador.
Quistis decides to abandon her post-mid-mission so that she can go back and apologize to Rinoa for being mean to her earlier. This causes Quistis’ team to get trapped in General Caraway’s office. They are able to escape through the sewers thanks to a secret passageway that they discover.
This whole sequence might be the stupidest storyline in the series. What makes it worse is that it has no bearing on the plot, as Quistis’ team returns on time.
Final Fantasy VIII is full of strange, quirky scenes and weird character interactions. And yes, this is one of them. Scott makes a good point: why would a professional mercenary make such a bad decision? Would Quistis even make a bad decision? Dazz316 doesn’t think so:
Quistis is smarter and more disciplined than that. That shocked me. Zell, Irvine or Selfie maybe. But Quistis knew better.
She should’ve. Quistis was probably illustrating she’s not really as professional as we believe. Early in the game, Balamb Garden’s dismissed Quistis from her instructor position, citing her lack of leadership skills.
We don’t know why especially when under her direction Squall and Zell became SeeD members themselves. This scene solidifies why.
People wonder why Quistis act dumb, as X7Strife does:
Apologizing to someone makes you dumb (which wouldn’t take too long)? I mean that Rinoa was able to keep the party imprisoned in that room (and that they weren’t able to get out with brute force) was very contrived, but her apologizing is not something that needs to be cut
But I think this misses the point. During an assassination mission, which requires careful planning and execution, it’s important all actors carry out their roles efficiently. The act of apologizing doesn’t make Quistis dumb, but making an impulsive plan to apology during a mission is.
But her character flaw is being a kid. Same with Zell and Selphie, who go along with her. Same with Irvine, who chokes under pressure at the thought of killing someone who’s dear to him. Everything illustrates the dumb luck they as teenagers have, which shows that hiring them is a dumb idea as well.
But should developers cut it? I thought about it, and I say no. If not with Quistis, Zell, and Selphie, then with Rinoa. Rinoa could have escaped from her room if she’d solved the weird puzzle her dad left in her room. Maybe we should help her.
If the developers must make Quistis, Zell, and Selphie escape from the room, then give it an actual countdown timer. Show the consequences of failing the mission in time.