16

Given the destination of Kylo Ren at the close of The Last Jedi, namely

his assuming the position of Supreme Leader over The First Order, having slain Snoke and his guards (with Rey's help of course),

were those moments of weakness and susceptibility in TLJ a means for manipulating Snoke?

Luke's assertion of Kylo Ren's state immediately before the destruction of his Jedi apprentices makes it seem less likely he would be "seduced" by Rey and the Light Side. Rather, Kylo Ren's behavior seems almost subtly purposed to

convince Snoke of a non-existent struggle with the Light, thus masking his end game of completely supplanting him. In other words, did Kylo manipulate Snoke (who intended to bring Kylo to a tipping point to turn him completely by having him execute Rey and then Luke), into connecting and then bringing him and Rey together, thus to give him the opportunity he needed to destroy Snoke and take control?

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    No, I think Kylo Ren may have been too scared to do anything too harm Snoke, but when Rey cam with him, it gave him the confidence to finish him off. – Darth Theory Jan 9 '18 at 21:08
  • @DarthTheory, I was originally thinking the same but Ren's intense focus on killing the past along with his actions (e.g. with Leia and her ship) and words seemed possibly more calculated and directed. Ren appears to be conflicted, but Luke's description of him and his actions in both TFA and TLJ seem less so... – bedwyr Jan 9 '18 at 21:16
  • I assumed that Ren cared more about the potential of an alliance with Rey (possibly for romantic or some other emotional reasons) than he cared to continue to do Snoke's bidding, so when Snoke backed him into a corner his choice came down to killing Rey or Snoke and it was an easy choice for him to make. – Todd Wilcox Jan 9 '18 at 21:41
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    Kylo Ren doesn't know what Kylo Ren wants. For that matter, neither do the writers, the directors, the actors or the viewers. – Eric Duminil Jan 10 '18 at 9:24
19

No

Everything we've seen from Kylo strongly points to him being a highly conflicted and unbalanced individual, trying to find his place and purpose in the universe. We see this from the very start in his training under Luke.

There are plenty of examples to show he actually heavily drew from the past to motivate him (his idolization of Vader, wanting his saber and copying his look), and it's not until the events of the most recent movie that any of that changes.

Sure, you could argue it was all part of some sort of long-con, everything before...

Snoke's death

...including all the emotional outbursts in his time alone and around others. But the fact that he continues to remain as unbalanced as he is (albeit with a bit more direction and conviction) lends credibility to it being genuine. Being so controlled as to manipulate in such a deep way would also require a lot of time and experience, and he's still fairly young.

Furthermore...

both before and after Snoke's death, Kylo seems to have no real solid ambitions to rule the galaxy. The emphasis of the whole movie is that he's a hurting and broken person, trying to find something that will quench that desire for purpose and knowing his place. He's the mirror to Rey, who is in much the same boat, but chooses light. After Snoke calls him out for his failures and mocks him for the mask, and finally in the scene just prior to his death, is when he finally decides he's done with the past and wants to take control of his own destiny. And ultimately we already have a very clear and solid reason to believe why he did what he did, which was to protect Rey, someone he's grown to care about and identify with, and who he feels actually cares about him in return.

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    I think we can go further and say there is something about Rey that he likes and is drawn to, and he strongly desires to ally with her. So to obey Snoke and kill her would be giving up on his (possibly subconscious) vision of his best future. – Todd Wilcox Jan 9 '18 at 21:43
  • @ToddWilcox Good point. I'll add a bit in about that as well. – Mwr247 Jan 9 '18 at 21:44
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    You make some outstanding points. I don't know that I would have used the phrase "long-con" to describe what I'm thinking, but it's a fair description :) Overall, I'm inclined to agree w/you about him being a hurt/broken person and being pushed to the point of being "done" with the past...trying not to include any of the spoiler content in my comment :^) – bedwyr Jan 9 '18 at 21:45
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    @bedwyr His struggle between the dark and the light has been an intrinsic part of him ever since TFA, and up through this movie. He didn't need to fake conflict with the light, he was conflicted. For him not to have been, and yet be convicted enough to carry out a plan like that and behave as he did means he'd have to have been faking it from much further back. I suppose if your question was "Did Kylo bring Rey to Snoke to do the thing they ended up doing?", then maybe. But if that includes planning the things that happened between the two of them throughout the movie, then no ;) – Mwr247 Jan 9 '18 at 21:59
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    @Mwr247, curses -- your reasoning makes sense! :D – bedwyr Jan 9 '18 at 22:10

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