I saw a lot of discourse going around Chapter 1011 and especially the final pages – as it is tradition in the whole wide online OnePiece community to talk about every step Big Mom takes. This time around I feel the need to throw my hat in the ring as well, as a Big Mom stan. Nothing groundbreaking, but I think it’s worth noting a handful of details that at times are completely forgotten about her character that really help putting into context today’s chapter – and that end up making her “unpredictable” behavior not really that unpredictable at all.
In Chapter 1011, we’ve rediscovered two faces of Big Mom: one is Charlotte Linlin’s, the human, and the other is Big Mom’s, the Great Pirate.
So here’s how it goes:
1-Charlotte Linlin is a fundamentally flawed person who was groomed into becoming a mass murder machine by a woman who would teach her how important it is to respect and love others, without ever reprimanding her whenever she would go too far. We know that Linlin repeatedly tried to mutilate her friends because she thought there was something wrong with them, and each and every time, Mother Carmel would stop her and say “You did nothing wrong, you’re just too good!”.
After Carmel’s death, Linlin would grow up without anyone ever telling her that her extreme actions were, well… extreme. She would go on with her life groomed by another shady individual – Streusen – a man who would react to a scene of mass cannibalism with laughter – and later join her first pirate crew – the Rocks Pirates – a crew in which the main commandment was “kill or be killed, pillage and steal, solve everything with violence, conquer the world”.
However, Linlin still is a child at her core. And given that she lived the best years of her life surrounded by children around 6 years old, and given the importance of family, the fact that she has some affection towards O-Tama not only makes sense, but shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone – we’ve already seen this side of her back in Whole Cake Island as well, before she greeted the Vinsmokes, with the youngest members of her family.
For this reason, I don’t think Oda should have even brought up the existence of a “Mother Mode”, I legitimately think that was a poor choice, mainly for the reader, as there was really no need for it, and piling another “mode” just to justify it seems convenient and cheap, while there was already enough setup to completely forego any mode of the sort.
Another thing that is often forgotten about Linlin is that she sees all people opposing her will and basic needs as evil villains – once again, we go back to Carmel’s teaching or lack-there-of. So she will not hesitate to kill and slaughter all the people who go against her or do not give her what she wants.
2-Big Mom herself is a cruel and ruthless pirate, who doesn’t hesitate to kill people to get what she wants. However, ever since the beginning of Fish-Man Island, she was introduced as someone who was both ruthless but someone you could also strike a deal with as well. She literally protected Fish-Man Island from invasions for 2 years in a period in which pirate crews from all over the world were jumping at even the most remotely possibility to get one of Whitebeard’s territories.
Then go to Whole Cake Island and how it is administered; once again, it’s a situation of “give and take”. Big Mom literally strikes a deal with every single citizen who wants to live in her country; she takes some lifespan in exchange for happiness and safety – a deal that the manga shows people in Tottoland are actually very happy to make.