I am a lapsed Destiny 2 player. In anticipation of the Beyond Light expansion coming out November 10th, I thought I’d reacquaint myself with the game which I hadn’t touched in years. Even though I probably should have waited for Beyond Light and its promise of a revamped and heavily streamlined new player experience, one thing that stuck out to me was the Titan Guardian Zavala. I never paid attention to him in my first dabblings with Destiny 2, but in the intervening time, I finally got around to watching all five seasons of The Wire, so when I heard Zavala’s voice again my recognition was immediate. “Holy shit! That’s Lance Reddick!” Or as I will always call him: Lieutenant Daniels.
For those of you unfamiliar, just go watch The Wire. Right now. Come back in a month to read the rest of this, it’ll be here. I don’t want you, potential Wire watcher, to be spoiled even though I’m not going into heavy spoiler detail. Lieutenant Cedric Daniels is the on-again, off-again leader of Baltimore PD’s Major Crimes Unit. His character is both sides of the “there are no good cops” coin. He is the bad cop when his subordinates do wrong. He coaches his team to lie in order to protect the offender who beat a kid so badly he went blind in one eye. It’s also implied that he stole or otherwise unethically obtained a huge sum of money during his time before leading the Major Crimes Unit. On the other hand, he’s also the “good cop” forced out because of his unwillingness to play by the rules set forth to him by city hall.
Throughout his tenure on The Wire, Lieutenant Daniels wants to be a “good” police officer who solves crimes and keeps his city safe, but is stymied at every turn by red tape and scheming superiors and politicians who are more interested in lowering crime rates through doctored statistics than by doing actual police work. But as Zavala, Lance Reddick gets to fulfil the promise Lt. Daniels always aspired to but never quite reached — and that makes me so happy.
Zavala is a hero. His entry on Destinypedia describes him as: “Stern and uncompromising, Zavala’s only goal is to safeguard humanity within the Last City against all threats.” As a heavily armoured Titan-class Guardian, Zavala is his team’s literal shield. In the first minutes of the Red War campaign, he throws up a shield bubble that protects Cayde-6, Ikora, and others from a Red Legion sneak attack. Watching him work as a new(ish) Destiny player is very impressive (and sexy).
Zavala also has the unwavering support and faith of his subordinates. When he issues a command he can expect to see it done. Daniels commanded respect and was generally well liked when he was in command but his subordinates undermined from time to time either through their intransigence (Detective McNulty) or outright incompetence (looking at you Sergeant Hauk, you dumb piece of shit).
I still have a lot of lore to chew through (Destiny is dens-ity like that heyyo!) so I’m looking forward to learning more about Zavala and his role as a leader in the Vanguard. Though flawed, Reddick’s Daniels was my favourite character in The Wire (he’s also my favourite non-John Wick character in John Wick). It’s a nice bit of continuity that I’ll still get to have him around as Zavala as I make my way through Destiny 2.