Final Fantasy VII‘s Barret isn’t the most level-headed guy. Due to Shinra’s ravaging of his past, this gigantic man-beast has a tenuous grip on his emotions indeed (and a hell of a gun attached to his arm-stump, that bears mentioning too). He isn’t one to pause and apply rational thought to a situation, as we saw in Shinra’s headquarters. Indeed, perhaps my favourite Barret moment is his endeavour to rescue Aeris from the nefarious Hojo. This he achieved by repeatedly firing his gun into some delicate machinery with vigorous gusto. Unconventional, but seemingly effective. The man’s motto, in short, appears to be, ‘have a problem in life? Launch some bullets at it!’
As such, it’s quite jarring to find him firing off some top-notch philosophy into our actual faces. When it comes to locomotive metaphors (which it so often does in life, I’m sure…), Barret is your man. In the game, he provided us with such doozies as, “There ain’t no getting offa this train we on!” Which is, in actuality, rather profound. After all, elements of destiny and the influence of fate are both surely key here. Why else would this ragtag band of adventurers be attempting to combat the threat of Sephiroth and his meteor-summoning shenanigans alone? (I’d venture because the appropriate authorities want to kill them with gas, rendering co-operation more or less moot. But let’s not be pernickety.) Are our heroes bound by something greater, gathered as the chosen few able to defeat him and save the planet? Probably. I can’t imagine useless fatass Palmer doing it, for example. Perhaps, also, Cloud’s experience in the lifestream and discovery of the truth was destined.
Alternatively, Barret simply likes trains, and was being more literal. It’s hard to imagine, as he’s not averse to simply leaping from a speeding locomotive when the situation demands it. (Thus proving himself a liar in the process. There is, after all, a way to get off. Through the open door, like a crazy man.) Even so, judging by his output as a whole, the less intellectual meaning is probably correct. His well-reasoned debate with President Shinra, for example, ended (and began) with his conclusion, “Y’all Shinra’re the VERMIN, killing the planet! And that makes you King VERMIN! So Shu’up jackass!” Therefore, it seems unlikely that the marshmallow-wearing bear is a philosophical genius after all.
If you’re still unsure, I’ll leave you with some final words from the great man: “I’ve been here from the beginning, and I still don’t know what the hell’s goin’ on.”