THE TWISTED LOVE-HATE RELATIONSHIP OF THANOS, GAMORA AND NEBULA
Ask Thor, the god of thunder himself, and he will certainly agree that MCU has an abundance of dysfunctional family relationships. In Infinity War, we finally get to piece Thanos’ side to understand this complex relationship.
As we’ve learned in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Thanos would often pit her adoptive daughters, Gamora and Nebula, during their cruel trainings. Nebula would always lose and as a punishment, Thanos replaces her body part with a piece of machinery in the hopes of making her equal to Gamora. This consistently went on for twenty years until Nebula is transformed into a cyber-kinetic alien with nothing but a deep-seated hate for her sister and most especially to his father. Still, Thanos won’t recognize her efforts because he believes that she’s not giving her all. On the other hand, he sees Gamora as his true daughter. She embodies his will, his focus, his ferociousness and for that, she earns his respect.
After Gamora and Nebula hashed out their difference in a bloodthirsty battle in Ego, Nebula said to her, “You are the one who wanted to win and I just want a sister.” It’s true. Gamora deeply hates Thanos for having them fight but what she does not realize is that by being better and developing an obsession to win, she’s only hurting Nebula even more. In essence, they are both prisoners of Thanos and all they had is each other. That’s why when he starts torturing Nebula in Infinity War, Gamora weeps and relents because the last thing she wants is to see her sister get hurt again.
Ultimately, Thanos used their bond to locate the coordinates of planet Vormir where the elusive soul gem lies. Once there, it is revealed that Red Skull from Captain America: The First Avenger is in fact alive when he touched the Tesseract and is transported to this planet instead, acting as the stonekeeper. He reveals that the soul gem requires a soul sacrifice in the form of a loved someone. With that, Gamora is served with the hardest truth in the universe. Even his evil father, the destroyer of worlds, has someone that he holds precious to his heart, and that person is her.
Imagine, a person you deeply hate ends up loving you the most. Are you supposed to feel pity or disgust? It’s hard to wrap your head around it, especially for Gamora who barely processes this fact before being reluctantly thrown by his father into the abyss. The whole thing is just heartbreaking because in the end, Gamora never really escaped from Thanos’ abuse (to which he blindly thinks as love).
Now on to the question, does Thanos really love Gamora? He gets the soul stone so the answer must be yes. The definition of love is subjective anyway. He does not care what she feels for him, he loves Gamora because he sees the potential in her, the ruthless assassin that he wants her to be. This could be a hard sell to some of the viewers and I hope this gets more fleshed out in Avengers 4.
Oh boy, I can’t decide which character gets the most tragic piece of this story. But I know for sure actress Zoe Saldana delivers the most riveting performance here. Let’s move on.