Is Hex Dead or Ain't She?

by Slack

There has been some disagreement about Hexadecimal's face at the end of "Sacrifice." On first seeing the episode, it appears that Hexadecimal sacrificed her life - er, her process - to defeat Daemon.

There's certainly evidence to support this. Bob does appear to say that traveling to all the systems will kill her:

What, what's the problem? We've got a Virus, me! Give me the cure and I'll fix everything.
Hex, you won't survive this. It's a one-way trip. Total fragmentation.
[Hex lays Bob gently on the ground.]
[softly] But you will survive.

 And before she goes through the portal, she does seem to be saying her final goodbye to Bob:

[sad faced, to Bob and Dot] Bob, I have always loved you. Dot, look after him and... be happy.

 However, then, over the closing credits music, we hear this narration:

I infect the entire net. I have spread through systems, peoples, and cities, from this place, Mainframe. My format, Virus. The Queen of Chaos! [laughs wildly]

 And then, in "My Two Bobs" we have this exchange:

And apart from some minor system problems-
Probably - the Net's clean.

First we are told that Hexadecimal will not survive the fragmentation that will happen when she goes through the gate targeting all of the other systems of the net (All of them? Good thing she has a lot of masks!). Both Bob and Hex appear to believe this. When she goes through, she spreads through the net in the form of her masks, which deliver the cure just in the nick of time. Then, supposedly after her death, she delivers the end narration, claiming to have infected the entire Net and declaring herself "The Queen of Chaos." Finally, there is evidence afterward that Hexadecimal is still causing problems, even though by this time she's supposedly dead.

One more thing to consider: if the fragmentation necessary to deliver the cure will kill her, then how could she survive to deliver the cure? If the trip were fatal, she would be dead on arrival. (Imagine lifeless masks raining out of the ether and shattering on the ground of various systems just before the count reaches zero.) Instead, after the fragmentation we see that she is indeed alive and active, and sane enough to complete her mission of delivering the cure.

So how to resolve the conflict here? One possibility is to look back to "Painted Windows." In that episode, Bob cut and pasted Hexadecimal's mask into a paint window, nearly causing Hexadecimal to overload and be destroyed. From his look of shock and horror, he clearly didn't intend that to happen. Her masks began acting independently on that screen, sometimes several speaking at once. Bob reassembled them into one file, then put the mask back on Hexadecimal. When the camera pulled out, she was shivering on the floor, and Bob and Mike were staring helplessly at her.

What does that have to do with it? First, it shows that Bob does not know everything about Hexadecimal, especially concerning the nature of her masks. He made a mistake in removing her mask and nearly killed her. Even though Bob is a gardener Guardian, he does not know everything! When he told Hexadecimal that the trip would kill her, he might have been saying so because he did not understand that she could survive if split into masks - perhaps the was the only dataform who could. Given all he had been put through - infection by Daemon, nearly being worked to death creating portals for her, and then being waltzed around like a doll - such a mistake would be understandable. That Hexadecimal (and, apparently everyone else) would believe him is easy to understand, too, since Bob is the major authority figure when it comes to Net threats.

All this leads me to believe that Hex is still very much alive, though not in any form that we're used to. She was alive enough to deliver the cure, alive enough to narrate and claim to have infected the entire Net, and alive enough to be goofing around with systems and causing problems now that her mission is over and she doesn't have anything better to do. Nobody can know for sure, however, until we see another season of ReBoot. Until then, I'll remember the words of Granny Weatherwax from Terry Pratchett's Discworld books:


          I ATEN'T DEAD!          

Bowling, anyone?

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