- "These A.I., they all come from somewhere; they are all based on a person. Our Alpha, was no exception. And while the law has many penalties for the atrocities we inflict on others, there are no punishments for the terrors that we inflict on ourselves. So you send your men. They won't find themselves a fight. They'll only find an old man. An old man tired, but satisfied he did his duty. An old man weary from a mind more filled with memory, than it is with hope."
- —Leonard Church to Malcolm Hargrove in Reconstruction: Chapter 19
Dr. Leonard Church was the former Director of Project Freelancer, until he became a wanted criminal of the UNSC and was placed under arrest by them for numerous protocol violations, as stated in the beginning of Reconstruction: Chapter 19. He then went into hiding at a secret location, where he would later be confronted by Carolina and Epsilon. Being a manipulative figure, the Director serves as a main character and primary antagonist of the Project Freelancer Saga.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Role in Plot
- 3 Personality
- 4 Relationships
- 5 Themes
- 6 Skills and Abilities
- 7 Gallery
- 8 Trivia
- 9 References
Prior to becoming the Director of Project Freelancer, Leonard Church was in a relationship with a woman named Allison and the two had a daughter. However, after Allison was called to duty to fight in the Great War, she was listed K.I.A. and Leonard Church went into a deep depression. Seeking to bring her back and do his 'duty', Leonard Church became the Director of his self-started Special Operations program: Project Freelancer and created a smart A.I. based off his own mind, codenamed Alpha. As time passed, the Director became more and more focused in resurrecting his lover, willingly committing major crimes and risking the lives of others to succeed in this goal.
According to Rooster Teeth, the Director was intended to be a calm but dark character with unknown intentions who would cause the viewer and characters to question what is truly right. However, as the series progressed, he became more of a tragic figure. Although he doesn't physically appear until Season 9, the Director has, arguably, the largest impact in the series, as he's responsible for several events that occur throughout the series.
Role in Plot
Prior to establishing Project Freelancer, Leonard Church enlists into the UNSC, where he picks a fight with a man named Pvt. Delaney during basic training. A woman named Allison comes to Leonard's aid and pummels Delaney in his defense. Leonard quickly grows infatuated with Allison and the two begin a romantic relationship, eventually getting married and giving birth to a little girl.
Six years later, Allison leaves to fight in the Great War where she, unfortunately, dies in battle. Heartbroken, Leonard receives a doctorate in A.I. Theory a few years later and obtains funding to establish his Special Operations program, Project Freelancer, in order to serve humanity in their war against the aliens as well as pay respects to his late wife. Dr. Church then creates an A.I. based on his own mind, the Alpha, and recruits numerous Freelancer agents and personnel into the project, including his own daughter.
The Director is first seen overlooking South and North Dakota's mission on retrieving data at the Bjørndal Cryogenics Research Facility. He then gives clearance for Agent Carolina to aid North and South when they become surrounded at the helipad. He briefs North, South, and Carolina after they return from their mission. He has the Counselor change the boards, placing North ahead of South. This angers South causing her to question him. He tells her that stealth was one of the mission objectives, something South failed to follow, and, as a result, made their next mission more difficult.
In Case File 01.045, C.T. believes the Director is selecting the Freelancers to see who the best of the best are, which in reality, will only make them divided. In Introductions, Washington tells the other Freelancer agents to call the Director as Maine and Wyoming began using live rounds on the training course. C.T., with her negative outlook on the Director, replies to Wash, "Who do you think gave them the ammo?", implying the Director supplied Wyoming and Maine with the ammo. He then comes down to the training floor after York is injured with a grenade. He says he will not punish Maine or Wyoming as they were being inventive. When talked back to by Wash he yells at him saying that the enemy will not follow protocol either, and leaves the room.
During the mission to recover the Sarcophagus, he prepares to fire the MAC at the 110 story building to destroy it. However, he is advised by the Counselor to wait until the Agents are away. He ignores this warning telling the Counselor to shut up and fires. Later when F.I.L.S.S. refuses to drop a pod for Agent Texas due to safety protocols, the Director has her fire it anyway. In the mission, Tex recovers the briefcase and contacts the Director. The Director applauds her for her work. Later on, he welcomes the newly born Delta, telling him that together they will do incredible things.
Battling the Insurrection
During the season finale, the Director tells Carolina that she will partake in more missions that will require her to do questionable things, in which Carolina agrees nonetheless, saying she will do anything for the Director. Later on he contacts York, who is on a mission, about the mission's status. He is pleased until Delta mentions remote alarms being sounded. He tries to get York to abandon the mission, but York continues to try and work at the lock. He is aboard the Mother of Invention when it comes under attack from Insurrectionist ships, however they are able to deal with these.
Once the Staff of Charon comes out of the rubble, it attacks the Mother of Invention and gains the upper hand, but it leaves. When the team returns to the Pelican, he asks of their status, to which they say they have everyone but C.T. who is gone. He asks them to define gone. With C.T. gone, the Director puts North Dakota in a simulation test with his A.I.Theta. With the help of Theta, the two succeed in eliminating the enemy turrets and impressing the Director. The Director, along with the Counselor, holds a Freelancer lecture class about A.I. theory, but gets interrupted by an angry South, who acknowledges that she has no business being there, due to the fact that the Director didn't give her an A.I.
Soon after, Maine's A.I., Sigma, asks about the fourth stage of A.I. rampancy: metastability. He also brings up the fact that the Director always says that one should have ambition. The Director agrees and dismisses the class. Meanwhile, the Director tells the Counselor that he has just harvested a new A.I. program and orders him to find the A.I. a match. After locating C.T., the Director sends Carolina on a mission to retrieve her armor. When Carolina asks if anyone else will be accompanying them on the mission, the Director snaps at her saying that he will take care of Freelancer personnel.
With the mission completed, the Director began to push the number of A.I. implantations. During one of Tex's training sessions after her implantations, Carolina storms into the training field and demands the Director implant her with an A.I. Frustrated with Carolina's sudden desire, the Director lets Carolina choose between two A.I., Eta or Iota, who are both are scheduled to be implanted into either Washington or South Dakota and her choosing would push back their schedules. When Carolina demanded for both A.I. the Director told her that she couldn't have both, but she retaliated by reminding him that the A.I. are simple fragments and their suits could handle it. The Director then told the Counselor to prep Carolina for surgery and stormed off with a Freelancer infantry soldier.
After Carolina's surgery, the Director is reported of a match going on in the arena. When he finds Tex being involved in the match, he yells out, "No, Allison!" to her, triggering the other A.I. to mutter the same thing. This causes the Freelancers to react in agony. The Counselor suggests sedating Carolina due to the damage two A.I.s would have, but the Director denied it stating that she wanted two, and she would live with the consequences. As he stormed off, he looked back at the other Freelancers and dismissed them.
A few days later, the Director was present with the Counselor, Sigma, Gamma and Omega in the torturing of the Alpha A.I., telling him a failure in his security schematics caused the deaths of agents Washington and Texas, which sent Alpha into a state of remorse. After dismissing the three A.I., unaware that Sigma secretly watched from a nearby security camera, the Director and Counselor brought in the Sarcophagus, which contained a tentacle-like floating creature . The Director persuades the creature to repair a memory unit that was used during the torturing process. After the process was complete, the Director welcomed the newly born Epsilon A.I. into the world, claiming "Today is your birthday."
Afterwards, the Director began Washington's implantation of Epsilon. However, after Epsilon was implanted into Wash, Wash, in turn, began to scream in pain, by the cause of getting memory flashes of Allison. The Director ordered the medical staff to sedate Washington and then ordered the Counselor to inform him when Wash woke up. As the Counselor complied, he asked what Washington meant about goodbyes. The Director, however, did not give a response. It was after this incident that the Director decided to pull the plug on A.I. experimentation altogether, and began the process of deleting them, resulting in a heated argument with Carolina as a result of her not wanting to give up on her two A.I. despite the Epsilon incident.
When Tex begins an attack aboard the Mother of Invention, the Director and Counselor leave the ship's bridge after ordering Carolina to capture Tex. In the A.I. lab, the Director and Counselor feel the tremors caused by York's "distraction": the ship's missiles firing upon itself. After Carolina and Tex battle, the ship crash-lands on a frozen planet where the Director, clutching a memory unit, witnesses Maine steal Carolina's two A.I. and throw her off a cliff.
After the break-in, the Director and Counselor decide to hide the Alpha at a secret location. The two instruct Agent Florida to secure and protect Alpha and then proceed to create a tragic story of Florida's disappearance. The Director then asks the Counselor where they can hide Alpha in anonymity, to which the Counselor suggests that he knows a place: Blood Gulch.
Messaging the Chairman
Throughout the events of Reconstruction, the Director exchanges a number of transmissions with the Chairman, each one revealing more about the Director's personality and views, as well as slowly revealing the tensions he and the Chairman share toward each other. Through the various transmissions and through the information provided by Agent Washington in numerous episodes, it is eventually revealed that the Director and his Freelancer Project was given a single, "smart AI" to experiment with in his soldiers, known as the Alpha. In a severe abuse of power and protocol, the Director has the Alpha A.I. split into fragments to be copied; this was done by subjecting it to highly stressful scenarios—essentially torturing it psychologically—to the point where it detaches portions of itself to maintain its sanity and survive. When the Chairman discovers this after looking into his personal files, the Director is immediately issued a warrant of arrest, and in the beginning of Chapter 19 he is notified that law enforcement members are on their way to detain him.
During Chapter 19 he speaks to Wash, who has infiltrated the base with the Meta following close behind. When negotiations with Wash fail, and Wash reveals he's known everything since Epsilon was implanted in his head, the Director orders the Meta to kill him — revealing he still had some level of control over Agent Maine (although this could be due to his bribing the Meta with the location of the Alpha, which it demanded). When Private Church appeared and entered the Meta's mind, incapacitating it and giving Washington time to activate the EMP, the Director attempts one final desperate plea to cooperate with Wash, who staunchly refuses before activating the EMP and disabling the entire base.
One last transmission was sent to the Chairman of the Oversight Sub-Committee during the Epilogue, with the Director sounding far more subdued and weary than he previously was. Revealing that he never had the chance to participate or sacrifice himself for the war, and that he has been haunted with the memory of his loved one who he lost long ago, he ends the transmission saying that he would come quietly and hope that the court would see things from his perspective. He also stated his belief that the courts would not be able to convict him, because though there are many laws against hurting and terrorizing others, he maintains that there are no laws against tormenting one's own self.
He then closes his transmission by stating his name: Dr. Leonard Church — revealing that Private Church/Alpha was in fact designed from the Director's own personality and memories. (Tex was later revealed in Reunion to be a by-product of the process and that she was what he remembered of his loved one, Allison, further explaining why he favored Tex during the course of Project Freelancer.)
Despite the implication of being arrested, Epsilon and Carolina discover where the Director is hiding: one of several old Freelancer facilities. Upon arriving at one the locations: the Freelancer Offsite Storage Facility, Epsilon and Carolina get confirmation that the Director is inside. The two load up with weapons and enter a room via teleporter, only to come face to face with an army of robotic Texs. Epsilon realizes the Director is once again trying to bring back Allison, much to his and Carolina's horror. After Carolina defeats the Tex robots with the help of the other Reds and Blues, she and Epsilon journey to the Director's private chamber.
There, they find the Director watching video clips of Allison, frequently telling F.I.L.S.S. to replay them over and over. Carolina tells the Director that the authorities will come to detain him, but he believes that he has found a way to bring Allison back "right" and needs more time. Epsilon angrily yells at him that he had his time and that he should pay for all the things he has done to Alpha, the AI units, and the other freelancers. The Director removes his glasses and stares at Carolina who also removes her helmet. Carolina sees the Director's weary and exhausted face, kisses him on the forehead, and tells Epsilon that he needs to let go and that the past does not affect who you are in the present.
As Carolina and Epsilon leave, the Director stops her and asks for her pistol which Carolina hands over. All alone, the Director orders F.I.L.S.S. to shut down the facility and delete all the files including herself except the video of Allison. Before F.I.L.S.S. does all this, she asks the Director if Project Freelancer was a success and if he found what he was looking for. The Director said no but he believed he was very close. With the facility closing down and life support cut off, it is assumed that the Director committed suicide with Carolina's pistol as he watched the video of his beloved Allison.
Malcolm Hargrove later confirmed that Leonard Church was indeed deceased, and had recovered Carolina's pistol as a personal trophy.
Despite the fact that Church is based off the Director, the two show little similarities in terms of personality (this may be because Church has lost many attributes through the creation of the A.I. fragments). The Director is shown to be a calm and calculating man who seeks to achieve his goals no matter what the cost, which often shows his dark and unmoving side. An example of this is shown when he declares C.T. to be an "acceptable loss", hinting that he could see the lesser skilled Freelancer agents as little more than tools or expendable. He keeps a consistent tone throughout the series but it has been shown that the Director can easily be infuriated in several instances, such as his messages to the Chairman in Reconstruction, as he was originally calm at first but became annoyed as time moved on. However deep down, the Director was a tortured soul, who sought to do his 'duty' but was so blinded by his depression he became a shell of his former self, having lost all hope and any connection to his daughter.
As the Director avoids interacting with others and shows little of his emotions, he has developed only a few relationships. Many characters see him as the one responsible for all the events that occurred in the series and that he must be brought to justice.
The Director greatly loved Allison, eventually having a daughter with her, while Allison most likely felt the same way towards him. After Allison was listed K.I.A. during the Great War, the Director went into a deep depression and sought to do his 'duty' by forming Project Freelancer. However, the Director became more focused on trying to resurrect his lover through Tex than anything else, causing conflict with others around them. His last moments alive involved him watching a video of Allison he recorded of her.
Carolina seemingly wanted to prove herself to the Director during Project Freelancer, always striving to be the best. However, because of the Director's regret for Allison and showing more compassion to Tex, he caused Carolina to develop a deep jealousy. After her supposed death, she made it her prime goal to kill the Director to obtain her revenge for her fallen allies. But when she confronted him in Don't Say It, she realized the nonsense in her goal and the Director's despair. Before leaving him, she comforted him by kissing him and left her pistol for him just before the Director realized that Carolina was his "greatest creation."
Throughout the Project Freelancer saga, the Director spends a majority of his time discussing his plans with the Counselor, his colleague. The Counselor is shown to have as much control of Project Freelancer as the Director and knows of the crimes they are committing, suggesting that the Director trusts him greatly. Unlike the Director, the Counselor seems to express concern for the Freelancers.
However, the Counselor lost all loyalty and respect for the Director after Project Freelancer's destruction, blaming him for his imprisonment and destruction of his life. In Locus of Control, it's revealed that the Director lied to even him about their actions, as the Counselor states "I believed in the wrong people. By the time I realized it, the damage was already done," and he would have killed the Director "If it meant getting [his] life back..."
Being the A.I. that helps control Project Freelancer, F.I.L.S.S. showed much loyalty toward the Director. She seemingly enjoyed his company and supported his ideas very much. F.I.L.S.S. shows much concern for him by the time Carolina and Epsilon arrive at the hidden base. When the two leave, the Director told her to erase all data, including herself. Understanding why, she asked if he was able to find what he wanted, with him replying that he was very close.
Originally Washington trusted the Director greatly, but after Maine and Wyoming went unpunished for using live rounds in a training match, Washington began to doubt and resent the Director. After the Epsilon incident, Washington learned of the Director's crimes and planned to bring him to justice through mutiny. As Washington was about to succeed in stopping Project Freelancer, the Director allowed the Meta access into command to kill him but failed.
Being a byproduct of the Alpha A.I., the Director showed immense care and support for Tex, due to the fact that she was based on Allison. As time went on the Director became more interested in Tex as she represented the chance of resurrecting his long-lost love. However, when Tex learned what she was and of the Director's actions, she abandoned Project Freelancer and attempted to bring the Director's crimes to justice.
The Director seemed to trust Flowers enough to let him guard the Alpha and orchestrate the Blood Gulch simulation. This is later revealed to be a mistake as Flowers corrupted Vic's list and personality, assembled the team that would eventually take down Project Freelancer, and got himself killed twice. Despite this, Flowers highly respected the Director, being one of the few Freelancers who did not go rogue.
The Director interacted with the Chairman greatly. Both seem to be rivals as when the Director demanded to have several locations for simulation tests, Malcom Hargrove (before becoming the Chairman) had suspected the Director was hiding something. This rivalry is best shown in the messages they sent to each other during Reconstruction. As time passes, the Director insults the Chairman for being someone who'll tear down others to rise in political power, while the Chairman was infuriated with the Director's criminal actions and replied that the Director will be remembered in history for the wrong reasons.
After the Chairman reveals that the Director will be taken into custody, the Director sends one last message on why he committed the crimes in a peaceful tone, hoping that the committee, and even the Chairman, would understand. When Project Freelancer was shut down, the remaining equipment was put in the hands of the Chairman. However, it's later revealed that the Chairman is even more corrupt than him in the Chorus Trilogy and, because of the Director's action, the Chairman cannot obtain an A.I. to further his own goals.
Inability to Let Go
Since the finale of Reconstruction, the Director was shown to be regretful because his wife, Allison, died years ago. He has since been haunted by her memories and the possibility that he could have saved her, which slowly consumed him as time went on. Due to his depression, he would continuously attempt to resurrect Allison, which caused many events to occur and changed the lives of several others. This deperession worsened through time as the Director remained unable to let go of the loss of Allison, which eventually led to his suicide. It's even implied that he felt guilty for those he harmed in the process, as he committed suicide after Epsilon rants at him for those who were victims by his actions and saying goodbye to his daughter.
Skills and Abilities
Being the Director of Project Freelancer, Leonard Church showed immense skill in leading operations that aided his agents. Such examples include: stealing the Sarcophagus, battling against the Insurrection in space, and tracking C.T. This skill would later explain the Alpha's own leadership, who would later lead the Blue Team. The Director also knows how to motivate his agents to perform at their best, by having them indirectly compete against one another in order to get the best results from them.
Unfortunately, the Director's methods are shown to hold some negative results as several Freelancers such as C.T., Carolina, and South, push themselves over the limit in order to gain the Director's respect and attention. Carolina's ambition to be the best causes her to neglect her teammates and friends. South's anger towards being treated in a lesser degree compared to the other Freelancers causes her to betray her own brother. C.T's distrust and horror at the Director's willingness to break major laws to achieve his goals causes her to betray the entire faction and defect to the Insurrection
Throughout the series the Director shows a great degree of knowledge; not only in using A.I. units, but also strategic planning and possibilities. The Director has used this skill to commit several crimes that were unnoticed for years. It's often hinted that the Director does many experiments (each varying greatly) to predict the possibilities and outcomes of certain situations.
- The Director speaks in an overpowering southern accent.
- The machine the Director and Counselor communicate with Wash and the Meta through is actually the Cold Storage Monitor from Halo 3, which is located in the map Cold Storage.
- Burnie Burns was concerned that the Monitor would confuse the audience into believing it was the Director himself. After he decided it wouldn't be a problem, Joel Heyman walked in on the scene being filmed and assumed the Director was in fact the Monitor. The Counselor was written into the scene along with specific dialogue and microphone effects to explain they were far away from Command.
- It is revealed in Don't Say It that Carolina is the Director's daughter, due to the fact that they have the same eye color and the Director states Carolina as his "greatest creation." However, this is never actually said in the series until the Season 14 episode, Meta vs. Carolina: Dawn of Awesome.
- The Director shares many similarities with Halo character Catherine Halsey.
- Both ran programs with elite soldiers for the UNSC. (The Freelancers, The Spartan IIs)
- Both lost family members in the Great War (Allison, and Jacob and Miranda Keyes).
- Both ultimately end up as enemies of the UNSC by trying to fulfill their own self-interests: the Director fragmenting Alpha in order to use more AI for his experiments and Halsey abducting a unit of Spartan IIs to keep them safe.
- The Director makes his first physical appearance in the Season 9 Trailer, giving access to the Pelican trying to board Angel On My Shoulder, in order to get medical aid for Agent Maine.
- Ironically, his first vocal appearance was in the Reconstruction Trailer, making his first "appearances" in trailers.
- The Director's face resembles John Marshall Reed, his voice actor.
- According to Burnie Burns, he was originally going to voice the Director, but after hearing John Marshall Reed speak he offered him the role.
- It is revealed in Red vs. Blue: The Ultimate Fan Guide that the Director met Allison during basic training after she rescued him from being beaten up by another recruit. This explains why he was able to readily take charge of a military project while seemingly being a civilian.
- It is also heavily implied that the Director is Jewish during this altercation, as the Director remarks that his surname is Jewish after introducing himself to Allison and she passes comment on the matter.
- It is currently unclear why the Director left the military; however, there are several hints provided both in the series and the fan guide:
- The Director has always shown a keen interest in science, particularly A.I., even as a recruit in the military. Prior to the aforementioned altercation with his fellow recruit, he was seen to have sympathy for the dumb A.I. that maintained his camp's mess hall. It could be that he decided to pursue a more scientific career, instead of military, in order to do his duty to humanity.
- The fact he got easily beaten up by a fellow recruit could have made the Director re-evaluate whether the military truly was right for him.
- Marrying Allison and Carolina being born may have influenced the Director to leave so there was a much more stable family life.
- Perhaps the most telling hint can be found in Reconstruction: Chapter 19, when the Director talks about Allison in his final letter to the Chairman. In it he states that "if the choice had been placed in [his] hands, could [he] have saved her?" and that "had [he] been given the chance, [he] would have made those sacrifices [himself]". This strongly indicates that he failed basic training or otherwise wasn't up to his superiors' standards. This is also somewhat supported by the fact that Church (both as Alpha and especially as Epsilon, considering the latter is essentially the Director's memories) is a poor shot, a trait the Director may have passed onto him.
- It is revealed in Blue vs. Red - Part 2 that the Director's favorite game was capture the flag. This explains why all of the Simulation Troopers outposts were always set up in this game.
- The Director's title and surname (Director Church) are the same acronym as the capital of the United States; D.C., which is appropriate because he is the leader of the Freelancers (named after U.S. states). Whether it was intentional or a coincidence is unknown.
|Head Staff: Leonard Church · Aiden Price|
|Agents: Alabama · Alaska · Arizona · California · Carolina · Connecticut ·|
Delaware · Florida · Georgia · Hawaii · Idaho · Illinois · Iowa · Kansas ·
Maine · Maryland · Montana · New York · North Dakota · Ohio · Oregon ·
South Dakota · Texas (ε) · Washington · Wyoming · Utah
|Other Members: F.I.L.S.S. · Four Seven Niner · Recovery Six · Recovery Nine · Tank Guy · Lemons · Lieu|