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Critique: Background

  • Krieger's character is an allusion to mad scientists playing God. This was a fear first articulated by Mary Shelly, in her science fiction horror tale Frankenstein: A Modern Prometheus. At least 2 referents can be determined for Krieger, one literary, and one real world. The primary literary reference is that of Dr. Frankenstein; the secondary, or real life reference is (generally speaking) that of Nazi scientists (with particular reference to Operation Paperclip - the program to shuttle such scientists to the US to continue their research, particularly in biological and chemical weapons).  A third, compound reference - a fictionalised version of a real world Nazi scientist, Joseph Mengele - can be found in the cinematic reference 'The Boys From Brazil', in which 94 clones of Adolf Hitler (created by a fictionalised Josef Mengele) are adopted and raised in different locations but with the same environmental factors as Hitler's own upbringing. The likes of Joseph Mengele - mad male scientists playing God with the forces of nature - were precisely who Mary Shelly warned the world about in Frankenstein. Krieger is thus a parody of this most heinous of fictional characters who became all too real.


  • Krieger is both a clone and a creator of clones, making him a parody of creator and created.
  • He is in the unique position of being both a symbol of Dr. Frankenstein (creator of 'abominations') and a Frankensteinian monster (a created 'abomination).  
  • In Skin Game, he is repeatedly reinforced as a moral monster whereas Katya represents a created 'monster' - a symbol for unnatural transformation, but not of unnatural creation.
  • Katya is shown as a victim, of a moral monster, but not one herself - she didn't ask to be transformed, and is upset when Malory refers to her as an 'abomination'.  She is full of pathos, and the audience is meant to empathise with her yet despise Krieger, in spite of the fact that he too is a 'monster' an didn't ask to be created.
  • The reference to The Silence of The Lambs and Seven - which both feature psychopathic serial killers - are clear warnings to us not to empathise too much with Krieger even though he too is a clone/monster and as deserving of our empathy (ironically) as Katya.  It is by his immoral actions, not his person, that we must ultimately judge him, and on that basis, he is seen to be the monster.  By continuing to act in the same monstrous way as the Nazi-inspired scientists who created him in the first place, Krieger is not redeemed.  
  • Katya, on the other hand, is potentially redeemed from her past Soviet affiliations.


  • Katya is on the threshold of transformation and renewal: how we judge her going forward will ultimately depend on her actions not who she is (a cyborg 'monster').  
  • Both Katya and Krieger are properly creatures (created by a creator) in their own right:  Krieger has become the creator of more abominations, (and so a moral monster like his forebears) whereas Katya is as yet undefined potential (merely a Frankenstein 'monster', and blank slate).  That is until:
  • In the end, Katya decides her differences are too great, meaning she cannot remain in a human relationship with Archer, and decides to enter a cyborg-cyborg relationship with Barry instead.  She joins forces with Barry and chooses to act in a way which ultimately does not redeem her (by becoming the head of the KGB).  So long as she doesn't create more cyborgs, she will be judged to be less of a monster than Krieger.
  • The Frankenstein Complex is manifest in all of us: the fear that as a species we may go too far in our attempts to perfect ourselves, and make ourselves into irredeemable monsters as a result, exists in all of us.  For how can an imperfect being perfect himself?  This is man's tragic lot, and Kreiger/Katya are our comic salvation.


Communications of the Highest Kind (talk)