Saturday conclusion to Pokemon GO Fest 2022 saw the arrival of a group of Ultra Beasts, the welcome ending to the terrible Rhi storyline, and most importantly, Professor Willow’s return from an ill-advised course of illegal steroids.
During the opening weekend of GO Fest in June, Willow mysteriously disappeared into an ultra-wormhole that appeared in the sky, and was replaced by Rhi, some sort of bloody robo-man from another dimension, a member of the GO Ultra Recon Squad. . We then went through three months of Community Days and Special Research with this character at the helm, where the galaxy brains at Niantic decided to let him speak in the most obscure language so that no kid playing the game would have a clue what he was babbling about. about. But finally Willow is back! Hurrah! Except, he’s done some work and removed a soul.
Willow has never been obnoxious to the eye. A very attractive young man, he used to always lean into the camera, a wry grin on his face, with warm, soft, beautiful eyes. Beautiful brown eyes, where you could sink and sink and sink… I’m sorry. But as beautiful as he was, he kept talking about the same horribly written bullshit dialogue that made it so incredibly hard to like him. Shhhh, Professor Willow. shhhhhh. Just shhhh.
I had hoped that Professor Willow would come back as a babbling wreck, sunken hollow eyes, eyes that have seen horrible things he could never explain. We would know where it had been, broken it in a way that could never be repaired. Instead, it looks like he spent the summer at Stan’s Discount Reconstruct-U-Good, “Facial Surgery and Used Cars for the Whole Family.” And he’s not okay.
It’s really hard to put into words why I find the new Willow so… sinister. Clearly the switch from fancy glasses to a flashy “LOOK ME!” glasses are not a good start. (We should be thankful he’s not wearing a steampunk top hat, I suppose.) But it might be the hardening of all those features, the all-new square butt-chin, and, while not comically horrific, a lack of any expression in his eyes. He just looks bored, bored with your stupid desire to make him tell you to collect 10 fire-type Pokémon, like he’s just had enough of this shit. Too much of this shit.
That little tuck that used to sit next to his smile was once a hint of cheek, a bit of wryness that suggested he also knew he should do better than pretend he’d never seen a Galarian Ponyta. Now, further to the left and slightly down, it looks like the beginning of a grimace, like a teacher entering the seventh new school year.
Old Willow wanted to be our friend and maybe tried a little too hard. New Willow sighs inwardly that we’re still here and wonders when he can get back to his own Real friends.
The internet reacted quickly to this curious change. From my extensive research, I’d say the opinion is split almost exactly in the middle, with half expressing some dehydration levels of thirst, while others (correctly) disapproving of the change. “Why does Professor Willow look like he’s my dad who abandoned me as a kid and came back years later with a motorcycle and a new wife and trying to contact me again in my teens?” asked @lilfishsong. “Excuse me, why the hell is Professor Willow a sweet motor babe flashing Blue Steel in the update?” questioned @OhSynapse.
THEORY: Not everything is fine. This is not Professor Willow. This is a cheater from the other side of the wormhole, here for nefarious purposes. Besides the fact that he’s staring at me like he’s wondering what my spleen might taste like, there’s another hint hidden in the game. Go to the News tab and click on “Coming September 1, 2022: The Season of Light” and you won’t get the usual story summary with a link to the blog, but a single sentence instead. There is,
Keep an eye on Professor Willow…
This then links to the YouTube video below, which is full of astronomical clues for upcoming Pokémon in the new season, and… no mention of Willow at all.
Yes. Keep an eye on him. Because he’s not right. He’s dead inside. He’s going to kill us all.