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Life is Strange

"Samuel, do you think that we each have a destiny?"
"Yes, I do, Max. In many different lifetimes..."

Max and Samuel in "Dark Room"

Samuel Taylor is the janitor at Blackwell Academy. Some people find him creepy, but Max Caulfield enjoys his peculiar behavior.

See here for Samuel's custodial room.

Personality

Samuel is a very mysterious person. Max comments that he's kind of weird, but she likes that about him. He speaks cryptically in a poetical and metaphorical way and often refers to himself in the third person. He also believes in supernatural phenomena and has non-specific dreams that give him information about the spiritual forces surrounding other people like Max.

Samuel is a sensitive, kind, and gentle person. He is thick-skinned and apologetic when he does wrong. He is a hard-working and positive figure in the game.

It is possible that he has a mental disorder of some sort, due to his awkward behavior.

Episode One - "Chrysalis"

In the corridor of Blackwell's main building, Samuel can be seen sweeping the floor as Max finds her way to the bathroom. The second time, as she rushes to rescue the girl in the bathroom, she thinks he would believe her story if she had time to tell it.

Outside the Prescott Dormitory, Max can speak to Samuel again about Rachel Amber. He seems to know something about her that many of the other students do not.

If Max asks Samuel about the Missing Persons Posters of Rachel Amber, he tells her that only Rachel would know. He refers to Rachel as "sunlight" and does not dwell on what could have happened to her, as he looks forward to the future. He can tell Max that Rachel was positive and negative[note 1], and compares Rachel to a prism that you would stare at in awe.

Max needs to move Victoria Chase and her friends away from the steps because they are blocking the entrance to the dormitory. She tampers with Samuel's paint bucket, which makes it fall when Samuel tries to hang it up, and it makes Victoria get covered with paint. Samuel tries to apologize, but Victoria tells him to get away from her.

Episode Two - "Out of Time"

Upon coming out of the dormitory, Max will come across Samuel taking a break from his duties by sitting on a bench and watching birds feed around him. Max may ask Samuel about the snowfall, about Rachel Amber (after discovering the photos of her inside Samuel's shed) and about the animals. If Max tells him that she has seen a doe, Samuel will reveal that the doe she has seen at the lighthouse is Max's spirit animal that will guide her to Rachel Amber's body, as has been shown to him in his dreams, and mention his spirit animal is a squirrel.

Later when Max arrives at Blackwell Academy after returning from the railway tracks, Samuel will be sweeping the common area outside the bathrooms and Principal Wells' office. He cannot be interacted with in this instance.

Episode Three - "Chaos Theory"

Documents from Principal Wells' computer, which Max discovered whilst breaking into Blackwell together with Chloe Price, reveal that Nathan Prescott had been threatening Samuel some time ago.

Episode Four - "Dark Room"

On coming to campus, Samuel can be seen sitting and talking outside the dorms with Ms. Grant. Looking for Nathan, Max approaches him. He complains about having to clean up the dead birds. Talking to him, he says how he believes that the spate of dead animals is more than an eco-disaster, and that someone is causing it to happen[note 2]. He says that Max and Arcadia Bay are "connected by time and tide".

When Max talks with Victoria on the End of the World Vortex Club Party, it is revealed that she planned to get Samuel fired for the paint incident.

Episode Five - "Polarized"

Samuel makes an appearance in Max's nightmare. In the maze of her nightmare, he's patrolling the hallways and hunting her like the other characters, and says phrases like, "You're my spirit animal", "The squirrels hate you... and they're hungry", "Samuel wants to make sure you never snoop around his room again" and "Too bad you didn't become friends with the Tobanga".[3] In the Two Whales Diner sequence of her nightmare, he accuses Max, "Why do you want all squirrels to die?"

If Max chooses to sacrifice Arcadia Bay, Samuel's fate is unknown. But it's possible that he's been killed by the storm like most of Arcadia Bay's residents.

Spirit Animal

As Samuel states himself, his spirit animal is the squirrel which symbolizes a balance of energy, diligence, vitality and resourcefulness. Squirrels are highly prepared creatures and play only after they’ve completed their work, such as storing away food for the winter. The Squirrel spiritual totems are resourceful people and have a way of gathering all the things you need right now and for the future. People who identify most strongly with these furry friends like to be prepared for any and all occasions.[4]

Theories

Main article: Theories and Speculations
  • There are a lot of strange theories about Samuel, but there is no clear facts about how he seems to know that Max is not powerless but powerful, that Max has time controlling powers, that Max and Arcadia Bay are connected through time and tide as he puts it, that Rachel is dead, and that Max will find Rachel if she keeps on her path.
  • It is possible that Samuel may practice transvestism due to the array of fashion items that can be found in the janitorial shed, including shades, a scarf, and magazines. On the other hand, it is entirely possible that Samuel just may have a hidden interest in fashion, maybe even a desire to become a fashion photographer.
  • From the very beginning of the game, Samuel seems very mysterious and it is possible that he has some kind of connection to Arcadia Bay or Blackwell. This theory is furthered by his lecture about spirit animals and his heightened distress at the weird occurrences that unfold over the week.
  • When talking to Max about her spirit animal guiding her to Rachel, he uses the phrase "body", which indicates a possible knowledge about Rachel being dead.

Memorable Quotes

"You can't color over that sunlight..." - "You knew Rachel?" - "How can you know a prism? You just stare in awe... Now I have to go paint windows."
— Conversation between Samuel and Max about Rachel in "Chrysalis" (determinant)
"What was she like? She must have been popular." - "Even sunlight can cast shadows. Rachel did both at once, you know? She was like a battery: positive and negative."
— Conversation between Max and Samuel about Rachel in "Chrysalis" (determinant)
"Don't laugh, but...I saw a doe that seemed to be looking right at me...like it was trying to communicate..." - "Oh, that's your spirit animal! Nothing weird there, except you saw yours. Could be a sign about your destiny... What do I know? My spirit animal is a squirrel."
— Conversation between Max and Samuel in "Out of Time"
"Do you ever talk with David Madsen?" - "He talks to me. I listen." - "That's how David operates..." - "He sees things, not people. But I...I think he sees you, Max..." - "He wishes he could..." - "Mr. Madsen has all the surveillance in the world, but...he's still blind..."
— Conversation between Max and Samuel in "Dark Room" (determinant)
"How can anybody explain all those poor beached whales...?" - "My dad was a fisherman, and he'd take me out to hear the whales sing... Now they... they just cry."
— Conversation between Max and Samuel in "Dark Room"
"Even though Ms. Grant likes me, I have zero science skills to explain that eclipse." - "As I was just saying to her, that's because science has no explanation. No offense to Ms. Grant here, but...this is just the beginning." - "How do you know that? I'm...genuinely curious." - "You just have to open your eyes...then you can see what's coming... That's why I can sense something bigger is coming to Arcadia Bay...and, Max, I don't like it at all."
— Conversation between Max and Samuel in "Dark Room" (determinant)
"Nobody should be trapped in the Vortex Club. Get out now, Max...while time is on your side."
— Samuel to Max in "Dark Room"

Trivia

  • Samuel has been noted to be very strange with his abnormal manner of speech and behavior, so it is possible he may have a disorder. Autism has been suggested, as have various degrees of schizophrenia (or schizotypal personality disorder), although it's hard to imagine a schizophrenic who regularly talks to animals and believes they receive visions from the dead being allowed to work at a school. Episode 1 shows the word "'tard!" (slang for "retard") written on his parking space, possibly hinting at whatever disorder he might have being known about (or at least rumored) by the students, or he is simply being abused for his peculiar behavior.
  • Samuel's last name being Taylor is first mentioned in Episode 5 in a Blackwell brochure that is seen during a rewind sequence back to Jefferson's class on Monday.
  • Samuel's name might be a reference to - and his character inspired by - the English poet and philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge. As a romantic writer, Coleridge's poetic work was mainly centered around nature.[5] His most famous works took supernatural themes and presented exotic images; his style was often very allegorical. With his work, he also explored the idea of a universal life consciousness based on the general agreement of the unity of God and the immortality of the soul. According to the poet himself, some of his works were inspired by dream visions. Essentially, he was the first person to give a name to the mental phenomenon that allows a reader to accept the fantasy world offered to him in a work of fiction or poetry, "the willing suspension of disbelief."[6]
  • Samuel's character may be an analog to the character of the Log Lady in Twin Peaks - a TV show that Michel Koch says is his top favorite.[7] Like the Log Lady, Samuel is seen as a strange, creepy or quirky character and has a seemingly supernatural connection to the town with an uncanny insight into its mysteries.
  • As evident from the school's pamphlet, there is another staff member at Blackwell Academy with the last name Taylor: Marianna Taylor who works in Admissions. It's possible they are related in some way.
    Janitor office

    Concept art of the janitor room.

  • There is an unused concept art of the janitor room done by Edouard Caplain. Its existence implies that it was originally intended to be in the game. The location of the room is under a flight of stairs.[8]
  • He revealed to Max in Episode 4 that his father was a fisherman. They used to go out together and listen to whale songs.

Gallery

Notes

  1. This is hinting to the fact that there are more negative things about Rachel Amber than is evident in the beginning of the game and due to Chloe's idealistic image and description of her.
  2. This could be an indication for the theory that someone actually causes everything intentionally or just by preventing the predetermined time line from happening, like Max is doing with her rewinding ability - and Chloe actually is meant to die to resolve everything, which is a popular theory.

References

  1. There is a box in the janitorial room with "Sammy" on it.
  2. This is a nickname apparently given by the residents of the boys' dormitory, as there is a scribble on the map on the dormitory wall that says, "Samuel = Dexter"; a reference to the psychopathic protagonist from the self-titled TV series.
  3. Audio File: https://instaud.io/dwS
  4. Meanings of the spirit animal squirrel and its appearance: http://www.sunsigns.org/squirrel-animal-totem-symbolism-meanings/, http://www.universeofsymbolism.com/squirrel-symbolism.html
  5. "For Romantics, nature was the only source of real inspiration, the only place where men could truly connect to their deepest and most powerful emotions."
  6. For more information on Samuel Taylor Coleridge see here: http://www.shmoop.com/coleridge/
  7. Gamespot interview E3 2015.
  8. Twitter post by Edouard Caplain
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