I had the same feeling. I spent the whole game noticing how Elaine was a different character from the ones seen in MI1 and MI2. Back then she was a very independent and strong woman, and proud of it. And in her relationship with Guybrush, she certainly was the one who called the shots.
In RtMI she acted differently. More calm, mature. Way more sweet with Guybrush than in MI2, more tolerant and understanding with him.
As if he had special needs, now that you mention it.
But this is not all about Guybrush. She even isn’t bothered she has lost all her political power, and she’s happy of being involved in social work and satisfied in dedicating herself to organic farming.
She looks like a person who is in peace with herself, with the world and with Guybrush, despite their ups and downs.
In a word, she looks like a HAPPY RETIRED PERSON.
But it can’t be! The story is a flashback. She might even be older and wiser at the time Guybrush is telling the story, but the actions described in the flashback happen in the past, when she and Guybrush are still young.
What’s happening, then? There are some hints that suggest that (maybe due to his mental weakness) in Guybrush’s narration present and past, reality and story somehow merge. There’s one particular strong hint which led me to come out with my theory, but I’ll tell you later.
Ok, ok. I didn’t know Dominic Armato said that, since I was avoiding anything MI-related since months. But basically that is part of my theory.
So, take a peek at my theory: ...
Guybrush and Boybrush are the same person (By the way, Boybrush is a great name. Whose copyright is it?).
Like many young kids, he identifies himself with the father, who -in this case- is a mighty pirate. Let’s say this pirate is a charismatic pirate leader, and he’s his son’s hero.
So the kid plays as a mighty pirate, dreaming one day to be as much successful as his father. And during his infancy games, maybe he plays along with his mother. And, like many little kids, he falls in love with his mother and wants to marry her.
Like Freud taught us, in an Oedipic relationship there’s a time when the kid realizes that he can’t marry his mother, and he realizes his “hero” is a RIVAL, indeed.
Here it comes the hint I nudged at: in LeChuck’s Diary, LeChuck writes: [Guybrush is a] Stupid name. Who names their kid “Guybrush”?
Why should this line be funny? It would be funny only if LeChuck was Guybrush’s father, indeed.
Guybrush realizes his “hero” is in fact his rival, and in his play he becomes, from a heroic captain, a tyrant, a horrible and evil zombie pirate leader.
And, as far as we know, Guybrush’s father could even deserve this new characterization in Guybrush’s mind. He could have been an oppressive and abusive father, both to Guybrush and Elaine.
And this toxic environment could have been the reason for Guybrush to need special attentions by his mother.
We don’t know what happened after the facts told by Guybrush during the flashback. We only know that LeChuck isn’t a threat to them anymore. We only know that, despite Guybrush is somehow “strange” from time to time, his mother loves him and takes care of him.