Note: forgive me for the caps I originally posted this in the comments section so there was no bold and I used caps for emphasis.
Ok people I got an account just to do this, specifically to not remain annonymous. I am going to strip away a lot of the imagery in the endings and I am going to attack this issue at its CORE. That core is the concept of indoctorination as it is concerned in the mass effect universe. I intend to explain how this concept pertains to what happens in the end.
The reapers are hundreds of thousands of years old and have become masters of influencing the minds of organic, sapient beings. They can bend your mind from the shroud of darkness over vast spaces. When Paul Grayson gets reaper tech implanted into him by cerberus in the books, he is a red sand addict...he chose to get off the stuff for gillian, so he was extremely difficult to be indoctorinated by sheer will. What does cerberus and TIM do? they inject concentrated red sand into Grayson, it weakens his mind and his resolve and soon, the reapers gain full control of him. Getting to my main point...
When Shepard is running toward the conduit beam, dodging laser after laser blasted upon him by Harbinger, Harbinger is becoming desperate, Shepard is bound and determined to destroy them and then a laser hits at his feet causing an explosion of splash damage, Shepard is knocked unconscious and his body is beaten and bloody. What does that state do? It makes him MORE susceptible to being influenced. Harbinger sees this chance and assumes control, trying its utmost best to bend Shepard to Indoctorinate him.
Calling it a hallucination or a dream is a fallacy. An hallucination or a dream implies that it just happens with no intervention of anything whatso ever. But to say it is Indoctorination is to say that something or someone is intentionally trying to subvert and influence your mind.
Revisiting Paul Grayson once again there is a scene in the book in which in order to protect Gillian and not lead Cerberus to her he sets his shuttle to go in the opposite direction. Ah but you see, that was only a trick and it is stated as such in the book. The reaper controlling him made Grayson THINK that he set the coordinates away from Gillian's location and instead makes him set the coordinates TOWARD her position and he doesnt realize it until it is too late. This undeniably prooves that once a reaper indoctorinates you it can make you think and see anything it wants. It will use anything at its disposal to maintain control.
So once again we find ourselves back at Shepard. From the beginning of the game the little boy is a seed planted not only in Shepard's mind but into the minds of the players. You see him get killed and it tugs at your heart strings, it makes you feel remorse, then throughout the game there are the dreams, only you and Shepard knows what he looks like. But then at the end all of the sudden this catalyst ai not only knows of the boy but also knows his form? This does not seem peculiar to you?
That points to something digging into your mind and you must realize that the reapers, Harbinger will use deception and deceit if that means bending you to its will. The boy in the beginning could be real but that doesn't stop Harbinger from using his memory as a tool. This boys memory causes Shepard to want to trust him so there is no argument at all.
Its not like the conversation with the Illusive man where you can argue as the tendrils of inky shadow tear at your consciousness. The illusive man tries to convince you to control the reapers but you see that is irrelevant because TIM is already being controlled and thus Harbinger KNOWS what the Crucible does.
Is it so farfetched to believe that Harbinger would lie and distort the truth of the crucible's true functionality in order to ensure its survival because moments ago Shepard and the player was bent on its destruction?
Control over the reapers is a lie. Perhaps the method in which to choose "control" is really an emergency abort. To choose "destroy" is perhaps a contengency to ensure it cannot be stopped. Perhaps Synthesis is to do neither and to THROW yourself at the mercy of the cosmos.
Control is not the reapers ideal choice because it would "Delay the inevitible." But eventually Harbinger will wear down your mind and Indoctorinate you fully. But to me there is something more likely at the core of these decisions and that is the "CONTROL" of Shepard's mind.
To choose "control" is to choose the complete submission to the reaper's control, for his mind to be consumed just as the energy CONSUMES his body. To choose Synthesis is to choose your mind to become merged and soon be CONSUMED by the reaper's programming. To choose "destroy" is to choose free will, to break the control and to FIGHT Indoctorination.
TIM is "already under our control." And yet what does the image show? TIM choosing control...he CHOSE his own submission and is bathed in the color of Paragon, this is the choice you are compelled to choose Shepard...Player, for THREE games you attributed blue to good, to right. "You wish to destroy us." What does it show Anderson doing? Anderson choosing to break control as he is bathed in the color of Renegade...this is the choice you are compelled to not choose Shepard...Player for THREE games you attributed red to bad, to wrong.
TIM represents the control the reapers have over organics. Anderson represents the conviction to break control. TIM has been the antagonist for the entire game and showed fear of the reapers . WHY would you choose to side with him and why is he paragon now? Anderson has heart and conviction, he cares for Shepard and he cares for Humanity, he has been in the trenches fighting the reapers the entire game. Why would you not side with him and why is he now renegade all of the sudden?
Ladies and gentlemen of the ME community I show to you that the desperate Harbinger is the worst evil of them all. Harbinger is the evil of deception, Harbinger is the embodiment of dominance and has been for the entire series. Is it so foolish to think that it wouldn't take advantage of a weakened mind? Hackett comes on the com and says "its not working, something is wrong." Shepard reaches up to the console but collapses before he can touch it. The battle rages inside of Shepard's mind. WAKE UP SHEPARD. Shepard lays in the rubble as the gargantuan Harbinger looms over its would be destoyer, boring into his mind, twisting his reality and twisting OUR reality.
"Shepard, I am your salvation through destruction." It has been hammered into us battle after battle game after game. But all of the sudden Harbinger, who knows how the crucible really works through the indoctorinated TIM's interference tells us control is the way to go. To me this is a LIE, it is not the control of the reapers, it is the control of you. To choose to destoy is to "Destroy all synthetics"? HAH. How do we know it doesn't just destroy you, Harbinger. "The peace won't last, your children will make synthetics and the cycle continues." Sounds like trash talk to me.
I refuse to be indoctorinated, you will not influence my decision Harbinger. Even if it did destroy the geth after I previously saved them. I will bring your end, you will no longer kill thousands of civilizations over many millenia. This is MY "Salvation through destruction" and thus the Indoctorination is broken, Harbinger's hold IS BROKEN. Shepard wakes up and takes a breath. The screen falls to black. There IS Unfinished business.