While the demonic resident The series is full of strange and terrifying creatures, it is important to remember that all those creatures originated from real life concepts. The t-Virus was born out of retrovirus research, Las Plagas was a revived species of parasitic arthropod, and Moho is, well, mold. Keeping this in mind gives us insight into how these evil agents create the monsters they create, and how they work beyond that.
In the Mold’s case, while some of its functions and abilities may seem overtly supernatural, they do have a basis in at least some degree of actual science. Understanding the process behind those features can help make the unusual monsters that spawn seem at least a little more sensible, at least within the confines of the Resident Evil universe.
Where did the mold come from?
The origin of the capital M mold we know from the Resident Evil series can be traced back to a single super-colony located in a cavern system below a village in Eastern Europe. Anyone who has experienced water damage in their home knows that mold can spread quickly under the right conditions, but based on the sheer amount of mold that lives inside these caves, it may have been growing there for at least a millennium. Around the 15th century, an ancient society settled in these caves, although after a while, they all disappeared, most likely having been absorbed by the biomass of the Mold.
On its own, the Mold is not an outright malevolent force. He is just a mushroom, doing what mushrooms do; find a comfortable spot and spread out to feed. Of course, the same could be said for the original forms of the t-Virus and Las Plagas. The problem is not the mold itself, but what the bad actors used it for. Specifically, in 1919, Miranda entered the cave system seeking suicide after losing her daughter Eva to the Spanish flu. It was here that he accidentally discovered the Mold and its miraculous abilities, and decided to use them to bring his daughter back to life.
How can mold make monsters?
The Mold possesses two particular abilities analogous to real-life mold colonies, quorum sensing and gene transfer, though due to their particular gender and prodigious size, they operate at a much more extreme level. Gene transfer is the process by which genetic characteristics are passed from one organism to another. You often see this in parasitic organisms that can release hormones to induce specific changes in the physiology or behavior of their prey.
Every time an organism is absorbed by the Moho, it “catalogues” its genetic structure, as Miranda explains. By absorbing large numbers of life forms, the Mold can pass on its genetics through itself. The Resident Evil 7 castings, for example, are created through the absorption of human corpses, likely with a side of various wild animals to create the teeth and weapons. The Mold recognizes a “human” form and can create aspects of itself in that same form, more or less. Of course, since that form only comes from corpses, it can’t mimic things like higher brain functions, which is why all the casts exhibit fairly simple behavior patterns.
How is mold controlled?
This is where the other ability of the cast comes into play, quorum sensing. Quorum sensing is the means by which the various aspects of a fungal colony transmit information to each other. When there is enough mold at one time, it can send signals to other colonies. In real-life mushrooms, these are usually simple commands like scattering in a particular direction or moving away from dangerous substances. However, thanks to the density and ubiquity of the Mold, more complicated commands and information can be transferred at higher speeds. Eveline was able to remotely control all the Moho in the entire Baker household using this ability; she issues orders and “broadcasts” them through the house’s various Moho depots until they reach her Molded minions. This is also how she can remotely influence humans who have been infected by the Mold, such as the Bakers.
Of course, that kind of ability relies on someone having near-perfect compatibility with the Mold. Eveline can do it since she was deliberately bioengineered from Moho, while Ethan and Mia’s daughter Rose can do it thanks to the presence of natural Moho cells in her body, inherited from her parents. For those who lack such ability, there is an alternative: parasitization. The Lycans, Moroaica, and other monsters of the Village were created primarily through the implantation of a Cadou, a species of nematode mutated through exposure to the Moho. By having a Cadou implanted in one’s body, assuming decent compatibility, a person can gain access to the Mold’s genetic “library” and develop superhuman characteristics. In most cases, this only results in a basic Lycan, but certain exceptional individuals like Lady Dimitrescu or Heisenberg can develop more specialized abilities without losing their sense of identity.
Can mold be destroyed?
Mold can be destroyed, though doing so by conventional means is exceptionally difficult. Sufficient levels of physical trauma can compromise a molded creature’s biomass and cause them to collapse into a pile of undifferentiated mold. Of course, this is not really to kill the Mold just breaks it down. More extreme weapons like flamethrowers can destroy the Moho a little more efficiently, but as long as the point of origin remains, it can always grow back. The best way to totally and completely destroy a Moho creature is to employ mycetotoxic weaponry, such as the RAMROD ammo Chris uses. Since mold is still a living organism, it is just as susceptible to certain types of poison as anything else.
When a mold creature takes enough damage, either through traditional means or mycetotoxic weaponry, its internal mycelium is compromised and its body begins to calcify, turning into a crumbling stone-like substance. Calcification is usually the certified sign that a moldy creature or mold-infected person has been properly disposed of, though they can still be revived from a large enough mold colony. This is likely how Jack Baker was able to return as the “Swamp Man” after the anti-mold serum calcified him.
However, just like a real-life fungus, mold is stubborn. Like we said, it’s just a living creature and it wants to survive. As long as there is a trace of its root or some of its spores in the air, it is likely to continue to spread, both through the Earth and through living creatures. Granted, without the presence of villains using it to make monsters, this isn’t that much of a concern. Unfortunately, the world of Resident Evil has no shortage of people who would love to do exactly that, so we’ll probably see Mold again at some point.
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