Snow's political program
I must say I'm really confused by Snow's mindset.
Her mindset is clear: first, law must be upheld strictly, people culpable of transgressions such as not wearing glamour are to be sent to farm, etc. Secondly, she and Bigby must themselves conform to the rule of law and offer everyone fair chance of proving themselves innocent.
I find both points questionable.
Jersey Devil told Bigby that Crooked Man wasn't in Bigby's town. Rather, Bigby was in Crooked Man's town. And he was correct. The loyalty of the people was not with official authorities, but with the Crooked Man. The main reason of that was that the people lacked prospects. They had to turn to crime, and quite often go into Crooked Man's clutches just to survive. Crooked Man knew this and exploited this: he either offered the people loans or jobs. The end was the same: he then owned them. Even worse, Bigby's duties proved ineffectual at protecting the citizens from criminals such as the Crooked Man's crew (owing perhaps to Crane's ineptitude), which made the people even more resentful and, ironically, forced them to turn to Crooked Man's people for protection. Thus the Crooked Man emerged as the actual authority figure in the town, creating a de-facto shadow government.
No one can rule without the support of the people. Thus Snow's first priority should be to sway the people back to her side. Punishing them for what they had to do because they had no other choice is not likely to be helpful here. She's currently at war with an extremely dangerous contender for power and she should understand that the people are her potential very important allies in that war. But they will only help if they will be pardoned from what they had to do, promised protection from Crooked Man's vengeance and promised they will finally be given prospects. Granted, the chances that they will switch sides and ally with her and Bigby are not particularly impressive, but this is her only chance. She needs this to happen both to defeat the Crooked Man (only the people can give necessary leads) and to be able to rule afterwards, if she wins the war.
Interestingly, she seemed to understand this in the beginning of the game. She was gentle and empathic with the Toads and with Holly. (I, initially, was harsh with Toad). This, as I understand my first playthrough, won us Holly and her people allegiance, which later proved instrumental. Then, surprisingly, things changed drastically. Under the above reasoning I gave Toad money to buy himself glamour, at Crane's apartment I promised Jack not to prosecute him because of his cooperation (I suppose Snow wouldn't approve of this), I chose to offer Johann protection (since he finally became cooperative), etc. But Snow ordered to expel Toad even though he could now afford glamor! Honestly, at this point I felt sorry that the game didn't give me the chance to peacefully rebel and just refuse to carry the orders to expel Toad and Colin. Also I'd like to privately have a serious conversation with Snow, warning her that I believed some of her actions were a terrible mistake that could cost her her office.
I do believe that law usually needs to be strictly upheld. However, I also believe that this can and should only happen after the power is firmly in our hands, not before; and after the people have been given reasonable prospects and guarantees of safety, not before.
I think ordinary people should be promised amnesty for whatever they had to before Crooked Man's defeat - or at least those out of the people who helped Snow and Bigby to defeat him.
On the other hand I am uncertain of Snow's orders to treat Crooked Man fairly. I'm not sure if what I'm going to say is correct from the moral standpoint - I fear it might not. However, it seems to me that the sad reality was that Snow and Bigby were at war. This couldn't be considered normal governmental operation. Crooked Man wanted himself to get arrested and face trial, because he wanted to be able to speak to the people - he knew that people's allegiance lied with him, not with the official government, so by doing this he hoped to legalize his irregular situation and became the actual government. Snow's insistence to allow this was outright suicidal. She was playing right into her most dangerous enemy's hands. I chose to kill Crooked Man in order not to allow him to speak to the people.
It seems to me that realistically, the new and feeble government of Snow and Bigby had only three choices:
- To allow Crooked Man fair chance at the trial. Then Crooked Man uses the fact that the people's allegiance lie with him and overthrows the official government and installs himself as the official government instead.
- To continue strictly punishing people without giving them prospects first. Then the Crooked Man will likely not be defeated (since people will cover him) and even if he is defeated and killed then the people will consider Snow's government to be oppressive, will start worshiping the Crooked Man as the martyr who died for the people's cause and, I'm afraid, Snow's government will be overthrown soon enough.
- To kill Crooked Man at all costs, pardon petty crimes that were committed out of necessity, give people a reasonable chance to run normal, straight lives and THEN start to strictly enforce the law. This is Snow's and Bigby's only chance.
In short: Ordinary citizens and small fries need to be swayed. Dangerous enemies need to be dealt with. Snow, unfortunately, aims to do the exact opposite of that. Why is that so?
Any comments on the above? Is my analysis correct, or did I miss anything important?