Chris McLean is the main antagonist of the Total Drama fanfiction Despair Island by Knifez. He was the mastermind behind setting up the television show Total Drama where he had 24 teenagers abducted and put through the show to fight for their lives. The contestant who lost the challenge was executed at the end of each episode. Throughout the course of the story, he was responsible for killing off most of the teenagers. While his canon counterpart might not have any redeeming qualities per se, especially in the later seasons, this version of Chris is much more sadistic and he took more pleasure in the contestants’ misery.
Interested in the idea of hosting a new show, Chris gets into contact with Jonathan Gavrilovic, a Canadian politician. He got into a meeting with him to have the idea of his show which was a snuff film drama called Total Drama. He eventually got the show approved by the politician. When the show was approved, Chris got criminals who were serving time and individuals from Eastern Europe to help him to set up the show. Chris also had his men force the parents to sign legal documents to have 24 teenagers participate in his show.
After having 22 teenagers abducted, Chris greets them on the island (most of whom were highly upset knowing that they would die from staying on the island). Chris split the 22 teens into two teams, the Killer Bass and the Screaming Gophers. He told them that there were two life idols on the island and that by the end of the show only three contestants would survive. Throughout the competition, each team that lost a challenge would have to vote off a competitor. Chris would come up with how the contestants would die and he would either murder the contestant that got eliminated or order Zolkoff to murder them. In most cases, the eliminated camper would be murdered in front of the other campers. Each time a contestant died, the next day Chris would change an image of the deceased camper from the one of them alive to an image of them dead. He would constantly mock the remaining contestants about their situations. Chris allowed Noah to leave the island after he found the life idol. As the competition continued on and more teens died, Chris decided to get rid of the two-team competition and merged the teams into becoming an individual competition.
By the that time the number of competitors dwindled down, Chris decided to leave the island to search for Alejandro the latter of whom who tried to escape him. Chris managed to find him and burned down the home that his family resided in. When he returned to the island, Chris introduced Sierra and Alejandro to the remaining competitors. As the competition went on, Duncan’s father who got location coordinates from his son in a video made his way to island in an attempt to save the remaining campers. However, Chris, Zolkoff, and the interns stopped them from rescuing the campers and Chris shot Harold to death when he tried to escape. Chris decided to imprison Duncan’s father until the show was over. Throughout the competition, some campers ended up dying from the challenges because of the level of danger behind them. Chris allowed Bridgette to leave the island when Geoff got the last life idol and used it on her. At one point, Chris decided to leave the island to speak with Jonathan Gavrilovic about renewing the show for a second season. During this point, Chris left Chef in charge of selecting a camper to be executed during a challenge something the latter did not want to do. Unbeknownst to Chris, Duncan accidentally killed one of the cameramen and impersonated him for the rest of the competition. At another point, Chris got the survivors, Noah and Bridgette to participate in an elimination ceremony.
During the season finale, when the competition was down to Geoff and Justin, Chris had Noah and Bridgette return to island to watch the finale. When Geoff lost the competition, Chris was about to murder him to end the season. However, he got a phone call by Gavrilovic about how the show will be renewed for a second season. Chris was happy to hear about the announcement. Before attempting to kill Geoff, Chris was interrupted by the intervention of Canadian police who arrested him and the others who collaborated with them. Duncan’s father was released from his imprisonment. Chris was shocked to see that Duncan survived and that he impersonated a cameraman. The surviving teens were also brought to safety. Chris was genuinely shocked that he was being arrested thinking that the show was under legal protection by the Canadian government. The police informed him that his show was against the law while arresting him.
When Chris was imprisoned in a cell with his right hand, Zolkoff, Chris was angry that Gavrilovic lied to him and intended to tell the police information about Gavrilovic. However, Zolkoff reminded Chris that he cannot tell on Gavrilovic because he was under a contract. Chris told Zolkoff that he wanted Gavrilovic to pay. In response to Chris's remark, Zolkoff strangled the latter to death to prevent him from telling the police about their boss’s involvement with the production of the show.
What Makes Him Pure Evil?
- Chris pitched the idea to set up Total Drama to the corrupt politician, Jonathan Gavrilovic. He came up with the idea of the show and wanted to have a show where people would die for entertainment.
- Chris forces the parents to sign a form to have their children abducted so that they can participate on the show. The contestants were to remain on the island. Any attempt from them to leave the island will be met with being killed as a punishment.
- After each episode of Total Drama, Chris would murder the contestant that loses in the competition. In most cases, the contestants would be forced to watch their losing competitor murdered in front of them. Chris would also come up with how the losers would be murdered. Some examples of how they were killed includes:
- Having a contestant swallow a cyanide pill.
- Having a contestant's head blown up by a grenade.
- Having a contestant placed inside an iron maiden.
- Having a contestant burned to death.
- Having two contestants sawed in half.
- Having a contestant crushed by a giant rock.
- Having a contestant decapitated with a guillotine.
- Chris openly takes joy in the situation that the campers had to go through. He also takes pleasure in seeing the campers die.
- He would keep a gallery of his victims in the mess hall. When a camper died, he would switch the digital image of the camper from an image of them alive an image of them dead. He would routinely do this in front of the remaining campers. He would also make jokes and insensitive comments about the deceased campers.
- When one contestant found a Life Idol and another was saved thanks to her boyfriend finding a Life Idol and using it on her, Chris still made it look that he was going to kill them, scaring them before announcing that they would not be killed and would be staying at Playa Des Losers for the remainder of the game.
- When he successfully abducts Alejandro from his family, he burned down his family’s home intending to kill his mother, father and brother.
- He gunned down a camper when the latter tried to escape the island.
- Chris would have the contestants participate in dangerous to outright life threatening challenges. Two contestants died as a result of these challenges. For example:
- He had contestants ride their bikes through a track that had landmines.
- He had a contestant cut off their finger on a dare.
- Chris negotiated with Jonathan Gavrilovic for a second season of the show. When he got a phone call that there will be a second season, Chris was delighted.
- By the end of the story, he was responsible for killing off 19 contestants.
- Despite having some comedic moments, he is taken very seriously within the story.
- Despite his status as Pure Evil, the Despair Island version of Chris McLean has six debatable validations that could disqualify him as Pure Evil:
- During the talent show challenge, Chris cries and sniffles after one of the contestants recites a poem about the cycle of life. However, he may have just liked the poem's writing without really caring for its message, which can just prove what an hypocrite he really is, as he doesn't respect the lives of any minus his own, given how many contestants die under his orders.
- When one of the contestants is permanently paralyzed and mauled by a bear, Chris opts to execute him in a merciful way by injecting him, while unconscious, a deadly snake venom, causing him little to no pain and then solemnly dismissing his teammates. The text even indicates that Chris' face had traces of actual sympathy upon doing so. However, Chris' mercy in this scene doesn't count like a redeeming quality because he later goes back to sadistically kill people in their eliminations.
- During the cooking challenge, he gives the win to the team who cooked gooey chocolate chip cookies because they reminded him to the ones his "Maw-Maw" cooked, to the point of even having tears dusting from one of his eyes. However, this doesn't confirm if Chris cared/loved for his grandmother or if he just enjoyed the cookies she made.
- During the trust challenge, when he makes a cruel joke about a team not needing more injured members due to a previous one being executed for twisting his ankle, he gets angry that no one finds his jokes funny and says that his mom thinks he is funny, implying he may get along with his mother. However, it's unknown if Chris cares for his mother and/or it could be the case that Chris' mother is just as sadistic as him, which could explain why Chris turned that way.
- When one of the contestants was sentenced to be beheaded in a guillotine, Chris allows her to say goodbye to her teammates. However, Chris likely did this out of indifference, as he previously executed a contestant by having Zolkoff saw her in half despite she requesting time to say goodbye to her best friend and explicitly stated that he didn't care when one of the contestants asked him if they could say goodbye to another one he shot for trying to escape.
- In the season finale, as he prepares to execute the runner-up before the Canadian authorities arrive and stop him from killing the contestant and any more people, the text describes Chris as giving a genuine look of sympathy to the contestant and he compliments him for his performance in the show, saying solemly that he has to kill him when the runner-up's girlfriend says that he couldn't kill him. However, it's likely Chris was making it look like he didn't want to kill the runner-up to torment the surviving contestants and that he really didn't feel any regret at having to execute the runner-up even though the show had ended by then.
- Despair Island was originally intended to be the first installment of a fanfic Total Drama trilogy, with the contestants of Revenge of the Island and Pahkitew Island starring in the fanfic's versions of Total Drama Action and Total Drama World Tour and Chris returning to host the deadly game once more. These plans ultimately changed and the ending of Despair Island was rewritten to have Chris and his henchmen arrested at the end. Had these plans not changed, this would have made Chris even worse.
- In retrospective, Despair Island author Knifez has opined that he should have rather set the fanfic's story in an alternate universe where producing snuff content is acceptable rather than making the story look like if it takes in a dystopian future only to then reveal that he show was being produced by the Serbian mafia. If the fic had been set in a dystopian future where killing people in live television was acceptable, then Chris could have not counted as Pure Evil due to potentially been unable to stand out in such a dark setting.
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