**Contains huge spoilers for the main Resident Evil 7 story, and a mild one for the Daughters DLC chapter**
Resident Evil 7. Very interesting game. Very interesting indeed. Not only a fantastic, thoughtful sequel that smartly reboots the series’ gameplay while maintaining exactly what made the early games special, it also kicks off a whole new branch of the storyline. One that can happily be taken as a completely standalone tale, but which contains a great many links to what has gone before. Many more than you probably think, in fact,
It also raises a lot of questions, and as such has its fanbase furiously debating the whys, wherefores, and what-nexts of its narrative. What exactly is going on? When and how did it start? Who’s responsible, who can we trust, and why on Earth is a gun called Albert? So it’s time for a deep-dive. Read on, and all of these questions - and more - will be answered. But let’s start with the straightforward stuff.
What's the timeline here?
Resident Evil 6 ended in 2013. We know that RE7 happens in 2017, and that Mia has been missing for three years, having been lost, along with Evie, in 2014. This means that (after an apparent quiet period on the global bioweapons warfare front), the events directly leading to Resident Evil 7 kicked off a year after RE6 ended, when Mia and Evie turned up at the Baker estate.
What exactly is going on at the Baker estate? It’s a mess
The once good and caring Baker family have fallen under Evie’s psychic control, and turned into nigh-indestructible killers, serving to protect her and provide some semblance of a family unit. Additionally, the place has become infested with the Molded, those black mutants that you’ll find shuffling around the place.
After a year of captivity and indoctrination (as per a 2015 e-mail thread), Mia came partially under Evie’s control as well, drifting “somewhere in between Evie-La-La Land and reality”. She lacked the independence to leave, but has maintained enough (intermittent) sentience to refocus her humanity from time to time.
Why are Mia and Evie at the Baker estate in the first place?
Umbrella, the biotech company behind the series’ early zombie and monster outbreaks, has been defunct for a long time, having been outed for its involvement in the original Raccoon City incident, and finally stamped out in 2003. But Umbrella isn’t the only such nefarious corporation in the Resident Evil universe. Many have been competing to take its place over the years, and it seems that Mia works for one of these.
We find out via a letter on the ship that Mia was tasked with taking Evie – a bioengineered product of her employers - to a new facility, to throw off rival companies trying to secure her for their own ends. They make this journey on a commercial tanker, passing themselves off as mother and daughter, to evade suspicion. But eventually things go very wrong, Evie goes on a rampage, and the ship crashes, before ultimately floating into the Louisiana swamp. There, it is found by the Baker family, who take Mia and Evie in.
So who made Evie, if it wasn’t Umbrella?
That’s not yet entirely known, but it’s very probably a company called Tentsu. That name is printed on the Necrotoxin machine (used to manufacture a means of destroying Evie) found in the salt mines, late in the game. A similar - but unmarked - device can be found on the ship, implying that Evie’s destruction was always part of her creator's contingency plans. Indeed, their communication with Mia certainly suggests it, should things get out of hand.
And in the Daughters chapter of the just-released Banned Footage Vol. 2 DLC - which is set just before Mia's arrival at the estate - the 'true ending' reveals her passed out in the trailer, clutching the D-series head sample case. That case, as Ethan later finds it after fighting Marguerite for the first time, is also imprinted with the Tentsu name.
But how did Ethan get here? Didn’t Mia send him a message telling him to stay away at first?
Yes she did. But Evie wants a family, and Mia is now intermittently under her control. Evie already has the Bakers’ son, Lucas, kidnapping people in an attempt to expand her family unit, and so has very probably manipulated Mia into contacting Ethan, in order to complete that family with a father. She already refers to Mia as her mother.
But what actually is Evie?
She’s a living weapon, bioengineered from an unnamed fungus found in an unnamed location. It’s infused in a human embryo, which is then extracted around the 38 – 42 week stage. The first truly successful version of the weapon design - the D-series being the last of four failed attempts - Evie can produce the “mutamycete” Mold herself, using it to gradually bring human subjects under her control, and spewing up gallons of it to perpetuate further infections. That’ll be the black goop you’ll find all over the Baker estate. We’re told in an R&D report found in the salt mines that Evie’s victims are controlled via pheromone-induced hallucinations, which is why you’ll often see the Baker family seeming to talk to people who aren’t there.
Known as an E-series weapon, the purpose of Evie’s design was military. Her mind-control abilities were intended to bring enemies under control without the mass destruction or conspicuous conflict associated with previous bioweapons. Hence Evie’s appearance. A little girl can blend into a crowd much better than a hulking great mutate-o-Marine.
As explained in found in the salt mines, late in the game, early infection results in “remarkable regenerative abilities”, including the ability to regrow body parts within minutes, a trait certainly present in the Bakers. Stage two brings the victim’s thoughts in line with those of the E-series weapon that infected them (in this case Evie), while complete infection results in the loss of human form. In the Bakers’ case, that last part will be Jack and Marguerite’s boss-monster forms.
This understanding of the process also explains why (if you choose not to cure her) Mia can eventually be killed relatively easily. We know that she was never fully under Evie’s control, and so logically can't have been as convincingly infected, and thus can’t have developed the same level of physical capability as Jack or Marguerite.
Okay, that explains the Bakers, but what are the Molded?
Bad news: Those black, gooey, tooth monsters you’ve repeatedly shot to pieces? Many of them used to be human. They’re the kidnap victims mentioned throughout the game. While the Mold that Evie secretes can take on mobile, humanoid form itself, it's also more than happy to take over and mutate an infected corpse. At the very least, some of the Molded you kill are fuelled by human matter that’s been fed to them. That explains why you’ll find one of them on a morgue slab in the main house basement, and why occasionally, you’ll spot twisted elements of human features around their own ‘faces’.
With no other Baker family members mentioned in Resident Evil 7, some of the Molded you find around the house and connected areas must be made of the various innocents that Lucas has kidnapped to feed Evie’s desire for a family.
What about Lucas, then? Why wasn’t he mutated?
Because he’s working for a group with outside interests in Evie, as revealed in an e-mail thread found in the labs. He probably was infected at first, but then cured by whichever company he’s working for in order to act as an overseer – he mentions in the exchange that Evie “STILL thinks she's got me”, so he’s obviously been playing along for a while. As for who his paymasters are, the obvious choice would be Tentsu, given that their name is printed on part of the Necrotoxin machine Ethan later finds in the lab. However, no company names are ever explicitly given, and we know that several are in play.