The term “poor little/lil meow meow” is a bit more complex than what its surge in popularity on Twitter and other fandom spaces may indicate. But, colloquially, it’s come to mean a villainous character that has committed atrocities that you find cute because of said war criminal behavior. In short, it’s the uwu-ification of characters like Loki, Kylo Ren or even Edelgard from Fire Emblem Three Houses.
Apex Legends’ latest character, Mad Maggie, is actually not a poor little meow meow, to me. Rather, I find her cute and endearing despite the fact that she bit a man’s nose off in her Season 12 lore cinematic. Maggie is absolutely brutal, ruthless and has a blast killing. But, unlike similar characters the game has introduced in the past, her levity and folksy sayings elevate her to seeming like a real character with the contradictions of humanity, rather than another deadpan murder edgelord.
Her direct predecessor, Ash, is a great example of this trend in Apex’s nastier characters. She’s the game’s second murder robot and hates the weaknesses of humanity. All of her voice lines are about defeating your imperfections and hunting down your enemies. Ash has never had fun in her admittedly short existence. That’s a direct part of her character, but it feels a bit stale when fellow death-obsessed simulacrum assassin Revenant had already been on the scene for several seasons.
His voice lines aren’t any better, with him calling the other human competitors “skin bags” and desperately lusting after boosting his kill count. There is not one funny bone in that metal skeleton of his. He’s instead completely consumed by his past designation as a killing machine.
It might seem like this criticism is only targeted at Apex’s robotic baddies, but the same can be said for the all-too-human Caustic. The man is quite literally a parody of toxic masculinity; a white guy obsessed with science and Darwinsim to the point of human experimentation and murder. If Caustic has ever laughed (doubtful), it was likely at the expense of some poor, slowly poisoned soul.
Mad Maggie, on the other hand, is a breath of fresh air for Apex Legends because she’s so earnest. One of her intro lines in the game is “I’ll do me ‘til I die.” That perfectly captures who she is and how she approaches the world. Right or wrong, Maggie has her beliefs and she’ll stick with them to the grave, but she hasn’t allowed that to make her some overly serious, one-dimensional character. She calls enemies “eggs,” making jokes about cracking them when you’ve destroyed their shields or calling them rotten upon pinging. When care packages drop, she’ll often say that they’re “coming in for dinner.”
Though a murderer and aspiring warlord in her own right, Mad Maggie still embodies a sense of enjoying the moment, even and especially in the midst of chaos. This energy is infectious and makes her even more fun to play as and interact with. Rather than rolling my eyes at another cringey Revenant or Caustic line, I’m instead happy to listen to Maggie using Aussie slang and Maori phrases as she delights in the carnage around her. She’s a shotgun granny from hell with a fun streak, and that puts her head and shoulders above the Apex villains that have come before her.