Red Dead Redemption 2 is a masterclass in character-driven storytelling. With this sequel, Rockstar created a band of memorable characters and personalities that all clash together perfectly. This being the wild west, there are going to be characters we both love and loathe.
The Van Der Linde gang consists of many characters. Some are developed better than others. Then there are the ones that really stand out, for better and for worse. Even though we may hate some of these characters, that isn’t to say they are bad characters. In fact, they are completely three-dimensional and their motivations are in line with their actions. Here are five members of the Van Der Linde gang that we love, and five that we can’t stand.
10 Can't Stand: Josiah Trelawny
Josiah Trelawny is on and off member of the Van Der Linde gang. This means that loyalty isn’t one of his defining characteristics. Josiah will usually leave the gang for long periods of time, only to come back when he was a new profitable job.
Therefore, it’s clear that he’s kind of selfish. To make matters worse, many of his planned missions will end up going south, especially the Riverboat heist. His personality also tends to be annoying to most players. Many players don’t miss him when he disappears for large portions of the game.
9 Love: Lenny Summers
“LENNY!” What’s not to love about Leonard “Lenny” Summers. As one of the younger members in the Van Der Linde gang, Lenny is an example of loyalty and dedication to the group, especially to Arthur. It’s unfortunate that his story is a tragic one. Lenny lost his father to a group of drunk prejudiced men.
In retaliation, Lenny killed the men, which put him on the run. He eventually found his way to the gang, proving his worth in multiple missions. In a standout moment, Lenny partners up with Arthur in a booze-filled task, which is probably the game's funniest mission. This makes his ultimate demise a heartbreaking one during the game's penultimate bank robbery mission in Saint Denis.
8 Can't Stand: Molly O’Shea
Molly O’Shea is Dutch’s lover throughout the story. She ends up spending most of the game just lusting over Dutch. Since Dutch constantly ignores her, Molly ends up becoming very irritating with her constant complaints.
Later in the game, she makes an absolutely stupid decision to go on a drunken rant, informing everyone that she’s been talking to the Pinkerton agents. In this desperate want for attention, she ends up getting shot by Susan Grimshaw. We later find out that she was never a rat, which makes us wonder why she would tell such a foolish lie in her final moments.
7 Love: Hosea Matthews
In a gang of thieves and murderers, Hosea Matthews seems to be the most level-headed one. As one of the co-founders of the Van Der Linde gang, Hosea is usually the one Arthur can go to for advice. Many of the gang’s smartest decisions were usually made by Hosea as well.
He tends to always have a plan, which he always follows through with (unlike another member we’ll get to later). Hosea is just such a likable presence in the game, adding in some much sophistication to the group. Just like Lenny, his death during the Saint Denis heist is a tough one to swallow.
6 Can't Stand: Uncle
In Uncle’s defense, he does become a redeeming character in Red Dead Redemption 2’s epilogue. However, throughout the game, no one can ever stand him. Uncle is the victim of much harassment from various gang members, but most of it is earned.
Uncle spends most of his time drinking and sleeping at camp. He tends to never do the tasks assigned to him. When he does, he barely puts any work into it and complains the whole time. Many of the members view him as dead weight to the gang.
5 Love: Charles Smith
What sets Charles Smith apart is how principled of a character he is. Life isn’t the easiest for Charles since he’s both African-American and Native-American. Despite these hardships, he tends to always stick to his morals. That being said, he also isn’t afraid to get messy when the situation calls for it.
Usually equipped with a bow or tomahawk, Charles is a skilled warrior that is extremely loyal to both Arthur. Unlike many other members, Charles isn’t blind to the diminishing leadership that Dutch starts to show. This causes Charles to side with Arthur in the end.
4 Can't Stand: Dutch Van Der Linde
Dutch is most remembered for his infamous quote, “I have a plan.” Since the second game is a prequel, we know going in that Dutch will eventually become villainous. While the story revolves around Arthur’s redemption, it also puts so much focus on Dutch’s downfall. For much of the story, Dutch’s decisions start to show his greed and disloyalty.
While he is the leader of the entire gang, Dutch tends to make decisions that will benefit him in the future. Many factors go into the break up the Van Der Linde gang, but many of them rest solely in the hands of its selfish leader. It gets exhausting from the player’s point of view to always hear that Dutch has a plan, yet they keep getting into worse and worse situations.
3 Love: John Marston
What hasn’t been said about John Marston yet? While John is the main protagonist of the first game, he takes a supporting role in the game’s sequel. As a young naive member, John does make questionable decisions here and there.
Yet, he always does them in the hopes of protecting and providing for his family. John represents the life choices that Arthur wishes he would have made when he was younger. In the end, John stays loyal to Arthur, and he does everything in his power to give his family the life they deserve.
2 Can't Stand: Micah Bell
There are some video game villains so charismatic that we love to hate. Then there’s Micah Bell, a conniving, snake-like character that we absolutely despise. From the very first time we’re introduced to Micah, we already loathe him.
His decisions always get members and innocent people in harm's way. As the game progresses, he gets increasingly more vile and selfish. Despite claiming to be faithful to Dutch, it’s made apparent that Micah only cares about one person, which is himself. Kudos to Rockstar for making one of the most detestable characters in gaming history.
1 Love: Arthur Morgan
After the first Red Dead Redemption, many were unsure if Rockstar could outdo themselves with its new protagonist. To our delight, we were proven wrong. Arthur Morgan is a great protagonist due to the journey we experience with him. As Dutch’s right-hand man, Arthur becomes more and more unsure of the path they are taking.
While he is not shy about executing ruthless violence, he ends up becoming self-aware in the end. When he finds out he’s dying, Arthur spends the remaining portion of the game redeeming himself. Rockstar sometimes has problems with its protagonist’s personalities in conjunction with player action. With Arthur, however, we truly wanted to play him in a redeemable way.