Overthinking alert! The Jaeger crews have been on my mind since seeing Pacific Rim and as is my wont I’m curious about their stories. Spoilers ahead.
I know the Drift is movie fake science but I can’t help wondering about how it works. The two (or more) pilots have to be in close synch for the Jaeger to function. Just walking is a tricky task if your left and right legs aren’t moving at the same pace.
Most of the Jaeger crews we saw – Beckett and his brother, the Chinese triplets, the Russian husband and wife*, the Australian father and son - had close relationships outside the Conn-Pod. It would seem to be an important element of being a good crew. But is it also an effect of drifting with someone? Does drifting also do something to the pilots?
Given how disastrously their first Neural Handshake went, it’s interesting how well Beckett and Mako worked the next time they were in Gipsy Danger (aside from that “by the way, we have this really cool weapon that we could have used a lot sooner” thing). Meanwhile Stacker Pentecost has no problem linking with Chuck Hansen when he steps into Striker Eureka. Stacker says he brings no ego into the Drift with him and he’s already taken the measure of Hansen so he’s ready to be in the Australian’s head. Both situations suggest, not surprisingly, that experience with the Drift improves makes it easier to do the Neural Handshake.
Now consider the Russian crew. It’s mentioned that the wife, Sasha, holds the record with the longest and most stable Neural Handshake. Since her husband doesn’t share this record, that implies she was drifting with another pilot at the time. Did the Russians put Sasha and Aleksis together in a propaganda marriage to boost morale at home? Whatever their initial relationship, it seems all the time they’ve spend drifting has made them very much in synch (almost like one person in two bodies) outside the Conn-Pod as well. Note things like the hair color and blingy rings. Do they finish each other’s sentences as well? A few minutes of dialogue would have revealed a lot about their relationship. And the big question – how is the sex when they’re so in synch?
*Though it was ambiguous in the movie, the actors have confirmed that they were playing husband and wife.